Thursday, November 12, 2020

Tips for Family Doctors to help parents improve their connection and relationship with their children

In parenting counseling, we (as Family Doctors), and the parents can sometimes be so focused on the behavioural management, that we can forget to work on the connection and relationship with their children. There are a number of simple ways to improve the connection with our children as described in TripleP, and the 5 Love Languages. There are significant overlaps.

1. Provide frequent quality time for our children. The principle here is frequent and shorter duration is better than rare and longer duration. Quality is about being present for the child. So when our children show us something, we then fully engage with them, and be present with them. This is of course not easy in this day and age. If this is done frequently, even for a short one or two minutes, it’s probably better than that once in a while beach holiday or overseas trip.

2. Show frequent physical affection for our children. A simple hug, high five, or a pat on the shoulder. We acknowledge that some kids are less physical than others.

3. Help and support our children, and be mindful of frequent opportunities to teach and encourage learning.

4. Using words of acknowledgement, and descriptive praises to encourage certain values that they want to cultivate in their family. A simple example is, thank you for being so kind and considerate to your sister, instead of simply, good boy.

5. Appropriate gifts and rewards are effective to connect and initiate wanted behaviours, but in order for the behaviour to be more sustainable, it must be done intermittently.

Helping parents to improve the connection with their children will reduce stress and the “fight or flight” responses, which will in turn reduce the need for behavioral management.

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