One of the most important things we can give our children is our time. Regardless of age, children need the time and attention of their parents to grow up healthy and to develop fully and harmoniously. Spending time with the child means more than being physically present, supervising the child, or providing food, clothing and shelter.
Sometimes it happens that adults are around their children for hours, days or weeks, but they don't spend five minutes of quality time with their children. The key to having a good relationship with our children is to spend short, but frequent time with them, doing activities chosen by the children or at their leisure.
Make time for your child when he needs it
There are frequent situations in which a child wants to show the parent what he has drawn, the game he has completed or to tell him an experience from kindergarten, from the park or from the playground. These moments are in fact the perfect opportunities for parents to pay quality attention to the child, who is ready, eager and eager to interact. It is very important for parents to be available in these situations, to interrupt what they are doing, so that the child, even for only two minutes, receives the full attention of his parent.
Studies show that short periods (several minutes), but frequent in which we pay full attention to the child (we turn to the child, we look at him in the eyes, we smile, we descend to his level, especially if we talk about a preschool or small school child) have a great potential to strengthen the relationship of affection with the child. In such situations the child learns that the parent is accessible, approachable, affectionate and interested in the child.
Being a parent involved and "present", not just physically, consumes time. To listen patiently to the story invented by the 5-year-old girl, to find out in detail how the toys were broken in kindergarten, to answer dozens of questions starting with "why?", To help the 11-year-old solve the problem. Mathematics and comforting the adolescent 15 years after her first suffering in love, consumes time and energy, can be tiring, but through all these daily experiences the child learns that it is important, protected and loved.
All the studies also point out that these short, but frequent, "meetings" are much more useful than long periods (hours, days), but rare, in which we spend time with children.
Expensive gifts do not fill the child's need for affection
As adults in a long-term permanence in which we try to perform professionally, to ensure our family financially, to have a social and couple's life, we sometimes say that an expensive gift or a carefully planned annual vacation will leave our child intact that he is the most important of our lives and that in the name of his well-being we voluntarily choose to enter this vortex.
In reality, however, children do not understand the rational justifications for the absence of their parents, nor can they be comforted with gifts to compensate for this absence. In the meantime, they can get used to them and we get to have in our houses teenagers who only ask for branded objects and they are disappointed or dissatisfied with the prospect of spending an afternoon with their mother or father. But didn't we, as adults, teach them this - with our lack and expensive gifts as a surrogate of time and attention?
The child needs daily time and attention from us: half an hour of our time and our undivided attention will show the child that we care. If we tell her permanently: "Mommy doesn't have time now, but I promise to get back later" or "Wait 5 minutes until I finish washing the dishes" or "Daddy plays with you after the news ends" or "Du - it is to the mother to help you with the puzzle, she has more patience ", the child will either learn that it is no longer necessary to ask for the parent's attention, or will ask for it in a negative way - crises of anger, crying, withdrawal itself and depressive moods etc.
As they grow up, the children need less attention from their parents compared to the first years of their lives, but they will already be taught that when needed, mom and dad are available and leave everything else for a few minutes with their child.
However, do not neglect to devote 5 minutes to your teenager every day, during which time:
- to listen to it until the end has to say without intervening, even if it seems difficult to do;
- keep your mind flexible and your sense of humor alive;
- to really want to understand its universe, no matter how strange it may seem to you;
- do not forget for a second that, in front of you, beyond the strange clothes, the sharp eye and the hair full of gel, there is the being that you love so much.
Psychologist, Save the Children Organization
The material is informative and is part of the education and awareness campaign to combat violence against children "Listen to her soul", carried out by the organization Save the Children, between September 2011 - April 2012.
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