As the workday seems to get longer, and the time you have for relaxation seems to get shorter, it can be easy to shut down and not want to do anything for the rest of the day. However, even if you want to lock yourself away from the rest of the world after a long day or week, life is still happening around you. And this is even more apparent when you have a child.
You love your child, and you want to do everything for her. However, as you find yourself becoming increasingly busier and more tired, spending time with her can start to feel like a chore on some days. However, there are many benefits to being more involved in your child’s life, not only for her but also for you.
Modeling Expected Behavior
How many times have you remarked that your child acts like some member of the family or that something he does reminds you of someone? As fun as it is to notice those small familial quirks, they are not inherited nor do they come out of thin air. Rather, as children grow and develop, they look to those who are older for guidance and start to mimic behaviors and mannerisms.
As your child’s parent and primary caregiver, you are the model for his actions and behavior. By spending more time with you, he has more opportunity to observe and mimic your behaviors. Of course, he will also take in information from other people he encounters–at school, at sporting and community events, and everywhere he goes.
Your child will look to you for his primary developmental guidance. By being more involved in your child’s life, you will be able to model the behavior you expect from him and to point out inappropriate behavior in others.
Building a Stronger Bond
Just like adults, children are social creatures. From the time they come into this world, they continuously search for people with whom to build relationships, the first ones being their parents.
Your child will do almost anything to make sure that the bond she has with you, her primary caregiver, is strong and beneficial. Sometimes this comes in the form of showing affection and wanting to be around you all the time, and other times it manifests as a tantrum when she is not getting the connection she needs.
By being more involved in your child’s life, you reinforce the bond that you have with her and reassure her that you are someone she can depend on. As a parent, nothing is better than knowing that you have a strong and sustainable bond with your child.
Providing Comfort and Support
As your child gets older and starts to break away from you, he will develop his own way of living that might differ from what you had expected. He is certain to encounter conflicts along the way, and, as a parent, you want him to trust that you will help and support him when needed.
By spending time with your child when he is younger and building a strong bond, he will be more inclined to come to you with questions and concerns throughout his life. When your child is more comfortable with you, communication between the two of you will be more open and effective.
When a child is comfortable communicating with his parents about things that are bothering him, he will be more likely to have lower levels of anxiety and depression later in life. Every child needs support, and there is no better emotional support than that from a parent.
All children crave basic human connection, and the stronger that connection the better. Receiving love and attention from those they value the most can have a significant impact on how they see themselves and the world around them.
Children learn at a young age to deflect from things and people that make them uncomfortable or that they don’t like. They know to avoid foods that they don’t like, to cry when they are hurt, and to move away from situations in which they are uncomfortable.
If you ignore or reject your child’s attempt to make a connection, regardless of your reasons, she might think that you are uncomfortable with her, which is not a great feeling to have. By actively engaging in your child’s life and spending time with her, you are showing her that she is valued and that you enjoy her company.
Finding shared interests can sometimes be difficult, and you might not think her activity of choice is the most enjoyable. However, just being there and showing interest is going to mean the world to your child and her self-worth.
Looking for Ways to be More Involved in Your Child’s Life?
There are certainly benefits to being involved in your child’s life. However, sometimes life can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to find time for quality moments with your child. If you are seeing signs of distress in your child–perhaps as a result of limited quality time that you are able to spend with him–give us a call. One of our trained therapists would be delighted to work with you and your child to find ways to spend more time together and develop a strong, healthy bond between the two of you.