Living with our children means more than just giving them our physical presence. It entails having a relationship with the children that enables you to sympathise with them.
This kind of relationship can be challenging or seem impossible depending on your initial connection with your primary caregivers. It might also depend on whether you have unresolved trauma from your past.
Here are four ways to live with your children
- Be intentional
Create opportunities where you can bond and connect with your child. Be playful; take part in their activities without directing the process. Give eye contact, listen to their little trials and enter into the experience with them by showing genuine sympathy. Make it okay for them to have needs. When this you do this it gives a feeling of security and acceptance.
- Be emotionally available
Emotional availability can be difficult if you have unresolved trauma, the best way to be emotionally available in your parenting is to seek support. Get help to deal with any traumatic events in your childhood. The best gift to give to your child is one of a healed or on-the-road-to-healed parent. Healing means you will be available to listen and be able to be with your child in a way that will create strong bonds. When this connection is absent, the child learns to adapt as best as possible. At best, the child grows up to be a ‘loner’ because inconsistencies in parenting create uncertainty, isolation acts as a way to disconnect them from their peers, and so they could lose out on having deep, connected relationships with others as they struggle with emotional connection and intimacy.
- Be consistent
Unresolved trauma acts as a barrier to consistency in parenting. In this environment, the child will do whatever it takes to get attention. Sometimes, this behaviour might present as problematic or unruly. They become overly focused on others to meet their needs, and this obsession with seeking gratification from the outside can create anxiety.
- Be a safe place
Work hard at dispelling concerns, listening to what disturbs them and decipher the cause. The behaviour tells a story, so this requires studying the children’s reaction to read what could be underneath all the disruption.
The connection will not happen if children perceive you to be scary. For example, saying things that could be interpreted by them as scary or threatening. Though you might not mean what you say, they are not able to reason out and make a decision as to whether it is a real or perceived threat. They take what you say at face value and sometimes freeze. Shutting down and disconnecting might be the only way to handle what they are hearing. When this, happens they will remain in that place unless professional help is sought to help them access emotions and give and receive love and affection.
In mind and feeling put you in their place. Living with them means more than exerting yourself to provide, it means the exertion will enable you to establish a sympatric relationship that will help them have a secure place from which to explore the world.