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Connect with your children
St. George's British International School

A child feels connected to his or her mother or father when he or she feels loved, protected, listened to and understood. For a child to feel this way is probably the most important part of their full development as a person.

In the words of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs, the parents of positive discipline, the main goal of children is to feel valued: to be taken into account and to feel important, through connection.

The parent-child connection is based on a sense of belonging (I feel cared for) and a sense of contribution (I am needed and I am part of this group). Neuroscience in the 21st century is confirming these theories written in the first half of the 20th century.

Our daily lives are governed by schedules, routines, obligations and a demanding and stressful reality, which we often pass on to our children on a daily basis, often unconsciously. Many of the problems we have with our children are due to a lack of connection with them. Connection with our children is very important for healthy emotional development, but how can we connect with our children if we don't know how to connect with ourselves?

If you make a strong and sincere connection, your children will follow you and want to do what is best for you and for the family. They will internalise your values and priorities, they will want to put them into practice themselves. In addition, your relationship will be strong and parenting will be much easier because you will all be connected and in the same boat.

Ideas for connecting with your child

Physical contact: It is important to have a lot of physical contact with your children, no matter how old they are. If your child is older and doesn't want their friends to see you kissing them at the school gate, suggest giving them a kiss in the front corner or in the car, where no one can see you.

Play: Playing together is fundamental. Through play comes complicity and bonding, which will be necessary for difficult moments when things are not so much fun. When you play with your child, let them be the boss or the leader, you will see how much they enjoy it. This is also not the time to lecture, gently correct them, tell them how to do things, and guide them. Dedicate yourself to connecting.

Involvement in household activities: After a certain age, it is common for us to constantly order our children around. "Pick up your shoes", "turn off your mobile", "have you finished your homework", and so on. Turn it around and involve them!  Instead of saying "Have you finished your homework yet?", try: "I can see you've been working for a long time, do you need help to finish or is everything going well?

Share your plans, your passions, your stories, your knowledge and whatever else you can with your child. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that "if they misbehave, I won't listen to them or make them have a good time". This connection thing works exactly the other way around. Give your child special time every day, even if it's only 5 minutes, and his/her behaviour will improve. You will have days for longer plans.

Be present in body, soul and mind. Turn off or silence the phone when you are with him/her, look him/her in the eyes, put your whole body at his/her attention. Leave your worries in the corner of your mind.  It doesn't have to be very long, find the short periods that are possible but commit 100%.

Listen and talk to him/her. Talk and talk and talk and talk. "Your child has a thousand things to tell you”, as Amaya de Miguel, founder of the Relax and Educate School for Parents, says. “Often that's all they want: to tell you, without you having to tell them if what they have done or said is right or wrong. No need to listen if it was something special, good, bad, average. They just want to tell you, to share it with you. Listen actively, with real interest, and don't judge them.”

Find time just for the family. "You have to try to avoid (if it is the case) that the leisure time you spend with your family is ALWAYS accompanied by friends and other families", as Daniel Bezares, creator of the blog desAprender, explains. "You run the risk that your weekends jump from gathering to gathering (friends and family) and that there is no space left for you to connect in petit comité".

The greatest legacy you will leave your child will be the unconditional love you have given them; your time to listen to them, your understanding and compassion and your experience to help them understand themselves. This is how you connect.

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