Our children are sometimes the greatest, most challenging, most educational gift that God gives us. They teach us more about the Father's love than we could ever be prepared for, and they astonish and exasperate us in equal measure as we witness them grow. Of course, along the way, we struggle as well - to do the right thing, to show balance, to live as a good role model... However, there are times we feel like we've been more frustrated than grateful for the gift that God has blessed us with.
But what if what we believe to be behavioural problems in our children are often actually relationship problems? If we're always trying to control and discipline in an authoritative manner, we risk damaging our relationship with our children, which we have worked so hard and for so long to establish and grow. We've learned through trial, error, and experience that parenting needs to change with the varying needs of our children.
At the end of the day, connection is the most important thing about our parent-child relationship. This article talks about a book that was written by two parents desperate to reconnect with their children, and states encouragingly that "even slivers of time help: a parent who comes home late can pop into a child’s room for a quick catch-up if they are awake." If you're feeling like your relationship with your child is no longer as close as it used to be, it's never too late to start the process of 'reattaching', because a "strong relationship provides caregivers with the authority to limit unhealthy attachments."
Parenting comes with a lot of different labels: attachment parenting, permissive parenting, instinctive parenting, helicopter parenting, and authoritative parenting (for descriptions of what each of these labels mean, see this article). How you parented your child in their early days of their infant-, toddler-, and childhood has a heavy influence on what your relationship with them is like now, but as long as you are all still together, before the challenges and separations of university, it's not too late to reconnect and work on your relationship.
-Vanessa Manchester-Morgenheim, MACA, MCoun, MA
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