With most parents finding it difficult to spend quality time with their children, thanks to their hectic schedules, establishing a rhythm in parenting strengthens the parent-child bond.
By Suchitra Seethapathy
“I work long hours and when I get home, I don’t have the energy to play with my kids!” This is a very common rant I hear from many working women I encounter in my Counselling Clinic. The same holds good for men too. And, along with this statement comes a list of unmanageable behaviour issues they face with their children at home. So, how do you do the balancing act between being a professional and a parent? Every single Google search or Gyan from various professionals maintains that parents spending quality time with their child will go a long way in managing problems in parenting. So back to my opening line, “I don’t have energy to play with my kids...How do I ensure quality time for my child?”
Let us now try and understand what this ‘quality time’ entails. It is not possible for every working parent out there to have regular play dates and organise fishing or camping trips with his or her children. Even if they do but are focussed on their own chores or errands during the entirety of that time, they are not giving their children essentially any quality time. Therefore, ‘Quality Time’, in essence is a time where a parent is present with the child. This includes giving whole-hearted attention to children by listening and responding to them while the phones are kept a metre away. Also, cracking silly jokes and empathising with their classroom quarrels will help children feel the emotional presence of their parent. This emotional presence will foster positive behaviour in children.
Just like the simple act of breathing, where a rhythm of breathing-in and breathing-out is unconsciously established, a rhythm has to be established in parenting too. From the moment, a parent meets the school-going child in the evening, to the time they hit the bed, they strive on establishing an unconscious rhythm where there are alternating patterns of inhaling (breathing in) and exhaling (breathing out).
Establishing such a rhythm in parenting will help maintain a good work-life balance as well as strengthen the bond between parents and children. It is of the utmost importance to note that this should be a seamless rhythm and not a rigid pattern of alternating schedules.
Remember, parenting is an instinct. It is an emotional connection. It is the act of forming the most-unbreakable bond, which cannot be established by prescribing, preaching or outsourcing. It can only be established by sheer love and commitment. So, go on and enjoy the rhythm of parenting!
The author is a psychologist, public speaker and special needs consultant.
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