Be present when present 3: finding balance
I will focus this final post on the topic of being present on finding balance. How can parents ensure a balance between spending quality time and ensuring private space to their children? The "private space" is necessary for your kids so that they can grow and be independent young people.
Even though children need attention and time from parents, they do not need it every minute and second of their life. Parents should be able to understand when to spend time or interfere in their children’s life and when to leave them on their own. Here is how you can do the same:
Give your child enough space: Even as a toddler, it is important to let your child play by him/herself and also do things for him/ herself. As your child grows he will need more autonomy and privacy from you. Don’t panic or go overboard with rules at this time. Instead, ensure that you give your child enough privacy to explore and learn about the world by his own. However, always keep your communication open with your child and take an active interest in his hobbies and friends. Always ask open-ended questions to your child especially if in teens to get an idea about what is going on in his life. If you had been a doting parent, you would be able to recognise half-hearted replies and lies. Make your home welcoming so that your child and their friends will like to hang around your home.
Make special talk-time for your child: Whether you are a stay at home mum or a working mother, make sure you spend some time of the day with your child on a regular basis. Even if it is just a 15-minute stroll after dinner. ‘To ensure more quality time makes sure that you go on a vacation with your child at least once a year. Consider spending more time during the weekends and taking up an activity together. You can refer to my previous post on ideas of activities and if you start early, you can turn this into a family tradition.
Be judgmental with time: Remember even though children need your time, don’t go overboard or limit your time spent with them. Too much togetherness can make a child excessively attached to you which could in turn make one unable to work or think independently. ‘Rather than making the bond strong it would make him/her yearn for an escape. On the other hand, if you spend too little time it can make a kid anxious, sad, lonely, insecure and clingy. In my experience you will need to spend varying amounts of time with your child as they grow. My kids tend to need more attention when going through a growth spurt or when a big change is happening. Parents need to have their antennas finely tuned to the unvoiced needs of their children.