The love for our children is one of the most deeply felt emotions we ever experience. Although a powerful force, it can be difficult at times to express this love and affection, and more commonly, find time to connect with our children. Time when we can relax, play and bond with our son can be in short supply in our busy lives, but it is at the heart of developing a special relationship with your child.
Building a close connection with your son is a process that takes not only time, but also an abundance of affection, patience and dedication. It takes effort to become close to another human being, but the good news is that research confirms that children are genetically programmed to connect with their caregivers.
Building a close connection means journeying through the good times and bad together. Your son is more likely to share his troubles and difficulties with you, as well as his joys, if he feels he can trust you and you are connected on a deeper level. Building a close bond involves more than simply telling your son you love him – you need to show and express that love in action. Here are our six tips on how to build a close connection with your son:
1. Make ‘special time’
The practice of giving ‘special time’ to your son is an excellent tool you can use to build a closer connection, particularly during times of difficulty, as outlined by hand-in-hand parenting.
Set aside a defined period of time for your son on a regular basis, and ensure it will be free from interruptions. Find a space away from other members of the family, remove technology and devices, and do not conduct chores or busy yourself attending to other tasks. As challenging as this may be, try and choose a time where the chance of you feeling stressed, busy, tired or preoccupied are reduced. Just take this sacred time to be with your son and enjoy the opportunity to be together by talking, playing a game, or doing an activity together.
2. Focus and listen
Make the time to fully concentrate on your son to satisfy the deep and natural need of love and closeness for both parent and child. Practise an active form of listening and let your son’s play or actions become a vehicle for telling you about his life and perceptions. Direct all your attention to your son when he is speaking and absorb information as if seeing him for the first time. Listen to every word as well as the tone of his voice, and pay attention to his body language and expressions – this will reveal more than just the words he is saying.
3. Step back
When you spend time with your son, let him sometimes lead, shifting the power to him. Resist the urge to take charge of the situation and instead, take a step back. This balance will encourage him to confide in you and bring up conversation that is otherwise difficult to raise in a busy schedule. Importantly, show affection and interest – in your voice, touch, facial expressions and body language. Gradually your child will return this warmth and he will uncover new things about himself in response to your attention and interest.
4. Trust your son
The initial and natural bond should begin from a place of trust which should be nurtured. As a parent, you should expect the best from your child and believe in his potential to help him child grow, learn, and mature. You need not blindly believe everything that your son tells you, but trust means not giving up on your child and walking away from the relationship in frustration.
5. Be open
Importantly, be open and available to your son. According to research, being emotionally available for your son and developing connectedness is one of the greatest protective factors against adverse outcomes in adolescence, such as violence or drug abuse. How we treat our children will impact how who they are and how they develop, as experience shapes brain development. Your son needs to be assured that he can come to you with anything without fear or judgement. Listening to what he has to say without criticising or shouting will strengthen your bond and satisfy the parental involvement he naturally craves.
6. Build parental confidence
All parents face times of doubt, wondering if they are doing a good enough job or taking the right actions. Building and strengthening a close relationship with your child can ignite your enthusiasm and allow you to take pride in parenting. Children will thrive on your growing confidence and react positively to the attention they receive.
Building a strong connection with your son can sometimes be a difficult but ultimately rewarding process that should begin when your son is born. Over time and through consistency and openness, the bond will strengthen, and love, respect and trust will emerge naturally to cement a close connection.
At Trinity, we celebrate families and all they do for their children and the community. We believe in working collaboratively with parents and students in a supportive Christian environment to ensure our boys realise their full potential, embrace their passions and find their life’s purpose.
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