By Anthony Kane, M.D.
One of the most powerful tools that parents have for raising their children is the natural emotional bond that exists between them and their child. Children who feel close to their parents will have a strong desire to obey them. No child with this type of connection to his parents will want to risk hurting that connection by disobeying them. When such a relationship exists, the mere look of dissatisfaction on the face of a parent will usually be enough to curb inappropriate behavior. This bond is so strong and so potent that it lasts even through adolescence when most of the disciplinary tools at our disposal are ineffective. Often, it is the only tool we have in guiding our teenage children. Parents who do not have such a connection with their children have lost a vital resource necessary for successful parenting.
In addition, this bond is essential for the child's emotional stability. A recent psychology experiment studied people in their forties, whose parent were emotionally distant from them. These people were often depressed and lacked a sense of emotional well being. They had more difficulty in adjusting to the work environment and new social situations.
How do you develop this type of loving bond with your child? It begins in your child's infancy and is built by giving your child the love and affection that he needs.
Many well-meaning mothers are completely unaware that their own children are suffering from the lack of physical touch. There are many reasons for this. Most people associate deprived children as those who are neglected, abused, or chronically ill. However, the truth is that many of our children who come from good homes are not getting the physical warmth and love that they need. In our two-income society, unaffectionate caretakers, who provide for the child's physical needs with as little warmth and contact as possible, often raise children. Also, many of us did not receive enough physical love and warmth as children. As a result, it is not natural to us to cuddle, coo, kiss, and love our children affectionately. In addition, some children naturally need more physical warmth. These touch-deprived children fill our schools. They are the ones who often look sad and depressed, suffering from not getting their physical needs for contact.
The United States is one of the richest countries in the history of the world. Yet, our children in general are touch starved. We are busy with our lives and our careers. We often raise our children in broken homes. We as parents are suffering under the burden of so much physical and emotional stress, that we are often just glad to make it through the day without hitting or screaming at our children. Who has time to give them affection? Yet, this is what our children crave most from us. We fill our houses with toys and things for our children, but it is us that they really need.
There is much talk about the generation gap. We all know that adolescents naturally rebel. Sometimes we look at our little children and wonder what is going to be in ten years when this cute little four-year-old turns fourteen. Will he be one of the children who abuses drugs? Is he going to steal? Is he going to do worse? What is going to be?
You need to take the time now, and give your child the physical warmth and love that your child needs. If you build strong bonds of love with your child now, while he is still young, then all these problems that you read about, will be just that; things that you read about. You will not experience these problems in your own home, because you have developed a strong relationship with you child.
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