Reclaim the Joy in Parenting Through Connection
Published on: July 11, 2020
The ability to love a child and to enjoy being a parent is present within each of us but sometimes we need to rekindle things in our routine to grow a stronger connection with our child.
By Sonali Vongchusiri
Connection. For me, this can be a big, loaded word. When my first was born, I knew I wanted to connect with him. I thought that meant spending time with him, wearing him, nursing on demand, rocking him to sleep and playing with him.
Nearly ten years later, my experiences have taught me it’s not. I’m NOT saying these things don’t foster connection…they often do when it’s aligned for both parent and child. What I AM saying is that doing these things in themselves is not connection. And I’ve made it my mission to support parents in unlocking real connection with their kids AND themselves.
So, if connection isn’t playing a game, cooking them dinner or even reading a book…what is it? All these things are actions. Connection isn’t about DOING something. It is about BEING in a space with your child that you create together…that you share.
Connection is glancing at your child as you’re reading to him, sharing a secret smile or laugh at a character in the book. Connection is the tingles that run through you as you inch your body a tiny bit closer to your child as you’re playing a card game, and they snuggle into that space between your arm and your body. Connection is that warm rush that washes over you when your child wakes early, and you say, “I’m so glad you’re up…my morning just got bright and shiny because I see you.”
Connection isn’t about DOING. Connection is all about BEING. Could you feel your body light up as you read those words? That’s the BEING alive in you.
So now, you may be asking, “How do I build a connection with my child?”
What if there is NOTHING to build? Our innate connection to our child is already there. It always has been. How do I know? If you’re struggling right now, ask yourself this question…” how far back do I need to look to see a time where I was deeply connected to my child? Where I did not foresee myself in the space I’m in today?” Maybe it’s a sweet moment of play at age two, perhaps it’s the moment you first felt the weight of your child in your arms, or maybe it was feeling those kicks in your belly as baby grew inside you.
So, if it’s already there, our job as parents is simply to peel away the layers and to do our best to keep new layers from forming. Here’s one easy way to tap into a deep connection with your child. This is an especially great tool if you feel your child is constantly asking for more attention. Kids crave connection but settle for attention. They don’t want more of your time – they want more of YOU. I call it the “Love Bomb.”
A “Love Bomb” is a moment where your child feels your love immediately and intensely. It takes a few minutes or less. The key here is the difference between you loving your child and them feeling your love. When loving someone, you’re focused on your giving of love.
‘Am I expressing my love? Yes. Check.’ When we focus on your child feeling the love, we’re talking about the receiving (did they get the message?)
You already love your kids fully, deeply, completely. All we’re doing here is transforming it into a way that lands with them. For my middle son, it happens when I’m walking past him. I sneak a kiss on the back of his neck and then zip away. There is nothing better than his “Mama, I saaaaawww you,” and my “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m all the way over here.”
For my 3-year-old, it’s filling my cheeks with air, looking at her expectantly and acting surprised as she pops them. She squeals. I come alive.
The best thing about a love bomb is that when your child feels your love fully in their body, your body feels it, too.
I invite you to explore today…to play and find your child’s love bomb.
About the Author
Sonali is a parent guide and founder of the much-loved Raising Your Strong-Willed Child series. She combines heart-centered and empowering parenting approaches with work to bring a parent’s awareness to the challenges at the root of the unrest they feel. Her passion is supporting parents to return to a form of parenting that restores trust, connection, confidence, and delight in themselves and their relationship with their child.
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