Do you have the relationship with your child that you want? Is it the relationship you always dreamed of having with your progeny? Or has life become busy, things not working out the way you had planned, and the parenting thing took its toll and your plan never came to fruition?
Well, if they are still in the tween stage you have a chance. My son is 9 and I find myself using marketing strategies to convince him that I am the greatest thing since sliced bread. I want him to love me, similarly to how I love him, his whole life. And to get that goal established I have done several things.
First, when I have defended my son, usually in school, and usually to authority figures, I let him know. I talk to him about it. I make it clear, daddy Mitch spoke loudly to your guidance counselor because I am here to support you, I will do anything to defend you, my son. You saw me do that in front of you, right? I want to make sure I get all the credit I can for having supported him. Taking those actions without getting full credit will not serve me later in life. I always want him to know his daddy Mitch loves him more than anyone in the world and will do anything for him (within reason of course), I want him to look back and say yeah, my dad stood up to my school’s Principal for me, I have seen my dad fight for me, I trust my dad to take care of me.
I have also been telling my son for several years now that he can always tell me anything, he never has to be afraid to come to me with any information. That pearl came from my sister-in-law who had her kids very young, and remembered her own experiences clearly enough to know what would work. My favorite line from her was when she told my nephew, I will help you, no questions asked. Of course you are going to find out what really happened eventually, but in the meantime, your child calls you first instead of trying to handle a tough situation by themselves. That’s a time when they need you more than ever; they don’t need to feel alone and unsupported.
I never felt supported growing up. And I am not blaming that on anyone, times were different. I don’t think parents were as close to their kids, and I certainly wasn’t telling them anything. My son is being raised differently. He knows in his gut he can rely on me. He knows out of the blue I will say “I love you.” I want that instilled in him so that when he thinks of me he will remember that in his soul, that should never be a question in your child’s mind, they should always know right in their gut that their parents love them and support them 100%. I feel that mine does, I am thrilled to have been just smart enough to give him that.
Read more from Mitch on his blog, www.gaynycdad.com