Want to be a great parent or a great Au pair? Want to raise a happy, healthy, well-behaved kid? Want to live in a home where discipline becomes unnecessary?
The secret is to create a closer connection with your child.
“What do you mean? Of course I love my kid, and I tell him so all the time. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need discipline!”
It isn’t enough that we tell our children we love them. We need to put our love into action every day for them to feel it. And when we do that our kids need a lot less discipline!
“But what does that mean, putting our love into action?”
Mostly, it means making that connection with our child our highest priority. Love in action
means paying thoughtful attention to what goes on between us, seeing things from our child’s point of view, and always remembering that this child who sometimes may drive us crazy is still that precious baby we welcomed into our arms with such hope.
“Doesn’t that take a lot of energy?”
It takes a lot of effort to fully attend to another human being, but when we are really present with our child, we often find that it energizes us and makes us feel more alive, as being fully present with anyone does. Being close to another human takes work. But 90% of people on their deathbed say that their biggest regret is that they didn’t get closer to the people in their lives. And almost all parents whose children are grown say they wish
they had spent more time with their kids, however with the busy life most parents face, finding more time with our children is more difficult, having an Au pair in Australia to give you an extra hand at home is so helpful and lets you spend more quality time with your children.
“Being fully present? How can I do that when I’m just trying to get dinner on the table and keep from tripping over the toys?”
Being present just means paying attention. Like a marriage or a friendship, your relationship with your child needs positive attention to thrive. Attention = Love. Like your garden, your car, or your work, what you attend to flourishes.
And, of course, that kind of attentiveness takes time. You can multi-task at it while you’re making dinner, but the secret of a great relationship is some focused time every day attending only to that child.
“This is all too vague for me. What am I supposed to actually DO?”
Start right for a firm foundation.
The closeness of the parent-child connection throughout life results from how much parents and au pairs connect with their babies, right from the beginning.
For instance, research has shown that fathers who take a week or more off work when
their babies are born have a closer relationship with their child at every stage, including as teens and college students. Is this cause and effect?
The bonding theorists say that if a man bonds with his newborn, he will stay closer to her
throughout life. But you don’t have to believe that bonding with a newborn is crucial to note that the kind of man who treasures his newborn and nurtures his new family is likely to continue doing so in ways that bring them closer throughout her childhood.
Remember that all relationships take work.
Good parent-child connections don’t spring out of nowhere, any more than good marriages do. Biology gives us a headstart — if we weren’t biologically programmed to love our infants the human race would have died out long ago but as kids get older we need to build on that natural bond, or the challenges of modern life can erode it. Luckily, children automatically love their parents. As long as we don’t blow that, we can keep the connection strong. Prioritize time with your child.
Assume that you’ll need to put in a significant amount of time creating a good relationship
with your child. Quality time is a myth, because there’s no switch to turn on closeness. Imagine that you work all the time, and have set aside an evening with your husband, whom you’ve barely seen in the past six months. Does he immediately
start baring his soul? Not likely.
In relationships, without quantity, there’s no quality. You can’t expect a good relationship
with your daughter if you spend all your time at work and she spends all her time with her
friends. So as hard as it is with the pressures of a job and daily life, if we want a better relationship with our kids, we have to free up the time or hire an au pair to make that happen.
Start with trust, the foundation of every good relationship.
Trust begins in infancy, when your baby learns whether she can depend on you to pick her up when she needs you. By the time babies are a year old, researchers can assess whether babies are “securely attached” to their parents, which basically means the baby trusts that his parents can be depended on to meet his emotional and physical needs.