If there is one skill we can develop today to create a closer connection with our children, it is the willingness to just be totally present with them. Being totally present is a level of vulnerability that most parents are not willing to have with their children. When we are totally vulnerable, we are totally present in every moment of every day. It is where we have the willingness to receive everything from our children with no judgement, just awareness. It allows us to be in the here and now so that we can actually see what our children are choosing, not through a filter of judgement.
For many mothers, having a closer connection with our child is an important part of motherhood. This is the generative energetic bond between our child and us. This connection is also as essential to our children's wellbeing as it is to us parents. It makes everyone in a situation better off. When we are really present with our child, it has the power to energize both of us and makes us feel more alive.
This close connection is an incredibly strong bond. It is the nonverbal energetic relationship between a mother and child, as expressed through movements, gestures, and sounds. One of the most important things we can do to begin creating this strong bond is to develop the skill to be present and to be conscious of what we are doing when we are doing it. It takes conscious choice, sustained commitment and discipline to activate the power of being present.
It is a common misconception that creating a closer connection with our child is merely a result of telling them we love them and doing our best to protect them and care for them. This is a myth, because the real connection is the by-product of a way of being that includes both tangible and intangible dimensions. It isn’t enough that we tell our children we love them. We need to put our words into action and interact energetically with them every day. In actual fact, the willingness to just be totally present is the most critical factor for any generative relationship or living a happy, fulfilled life. The ability to be present can help us meet real life challenges more skillfully, and with a sense of ease and humor.
Let’s explore a few different ways of being present and creating closer connection with our children.
1. Become aware of what goes on between you and your children, and be willing to see things from their point of view. Let your children be children. Learn to listen to the needs of your children and to focus on current events. For example, when they are upset, acting out or acting up, remember to breathe in and take some time to find out what they need, then acknowledge that and move on. You must recognise that things are always changing, including your mood and your children's mood. It is important that you acknowledge their feelings and emotions and encourage them to look from a new place too.
When we become aware of our child's frustration don’t judge it. We have to acknowledge what is, not judge what it should be. They are not wrong. As a mother, if we can acknowledge what is for them, then they have choice to let go of their frustration. Just the acknowledgement that they actually do know what is true for them, is huge.
2. Become aware of our own expectations, projections and judgments. It’s not uncommon for mothers to have certain expectations about our children. Some mothers expect their children to behave a certain way, or say the things that they might say in a certain situation. Expecting our children to do as we would do is setting ourselves up for disappointment and frustration. Operating from expectations, expectations and judgments will lead us down a path of averageness, with an average relationship with our children and an average life.
If you would like to create a closer connection with your children, take every opportunity to show them that you accept and love them just the way they are. You need to let go of your old beliefs about what's right or wrong or good or bad. And when you are willing to let go of the fixed points of view of what it has to be, something even greater can show up. The implications of choosing to let go of your agenda, conclusion, expectation, projection, judgment and fixed points of view can ripple into other areas of your life too, which can become richer and more generative.
3. Make a conscious choice to foster your relationship by taking the time to communicate and talk with your children as much as you can. Consciously listening to your children is an essential skill you can cultivate and it is the single most important skill you can have in your parenting toolkit.
When your children talk, listen completely. Look at them and listen to their words without jumping to conclusions or judging or mentally criticizing the things your children tell you. Show them that they have your full attention and you care enough to listen to them. This means when you’re with them, your energy and attention is on them, especially when they’re speaking to you. Focus on what they’re saying and ask questions about the things that you’re curious about. Being heard is so close to being loved, that for the children, they are almost identical. You show them appreciation when you take the time to truly listen and hear what they have to say.
Final note: When you master the skill of being present with your children, you'll start seeing things differently in your life. Your children and you will begin to develop a closer connection and a more generative relationship. Your choice and willingness to just be totally present with your children can create a huge difference in what shows up for you and your family.