The bond between parents and their grown children is one of the purest. There's no hidden intention behind their emotions, and there's no planned agenda behind their feelings for each other.
Studies have shown that the parent-children bond is the strongest compared to any other relationship an average person possesses and impacts many other areas of your social life.
For example, in a study shared by Science daily, it was found that kids with strong bonds with parents make better friends.
But what if that bond isn't that strong? What if you, as parents, couldn't hold your children close to you and were uninvolved in their parenting. This happened a lot when the child grew up in a neglectful parenting style.
Consequently, it would create a gap of emotional attachment because this bond didn't develop. After all, you bought your child one of the best Barbie dollhouses. Instead, it's a pre-existent strength that nature has developed in us human beings.
However, the question is, how do you, as a parent, prevent that from happening further?
You'd need to take some specific steps as a parent to the re-bond relationship with your children and become a much more involved parent.
Start spending more time with your grown children.
You have to start with the basics. Till now, you've not been spending enough time with your children. That is what put you in a neutral position as a parent in the first place. The first shift you have to make is to reverse that.
Try to take out time from your day to be around your children. This doesn't have to be complicated or consume hours of your day.
You can try to eat your meals with your kids once or twice a week (if they're not living with you anymore), use less of your phone around them, and take particular time out randomly to play apart from these multi-tasking actions with them or attend their school function.
All this is what counts. The impact of this move would be that your children will feel more valued and will thus be happy to be more involved from their side as well.
Talk & engage them in conversations.
The primary principle of being attached to anyone is to have conversations with them. Your goal as a parent should not just be to be around your children, but you also have to engage them in conversations, discussions, and activities. If you've been not so involved with your grown children before, this idea might be a problem for you. However, there're plenty of simple ways to do it.
For example, let's say you planed dinner with your kids. On the dining table, try not to engage with your phone and instead ask your children how their day was, how the school went, how prepared they are for their basketball game next week, etc.
These small conversation-kicking topics can make a huge difference in clearing your way to engage with your children. When trying to kick a conversation with your children, one tip is to make sure it's not just you who's talking.
You have to drag your children into the conversation in a way that they enjoy. There's no point in starting it as a two-way conversation and turning it into a one-way lecture after a few minutes.
Engage in some activity with them
Other than talking or times like being together at the dinner table, the other way you can spend quality time with your children is by engaging in some activity with them. This can be anything from some sports your child is interested in, some game you two would love playing together, or even some TV show you can watch together.
These kinds of activities can spare you some time to spend with your children and help you interact more with them and be more occupied. For example, if you teach any sports to your child every weekend, there'd be much more than just talking about how their day went for you two to discuss and have fun with. It will not only strengthen your bond but would also create tons of beautiful memories.
In general, the following list of activities can be picked by Parents to engage in together;
- Making art
- Exploring nature
Once chosen, your activities will become a part of your collaborative time together.
If you've been an uninvolved parent for some time, the chances are that your child has become used to it. It could be the case that your child has developed this notion of un-involvement as well, which means that even if you try to get close to your child, they might repel it.
This is where positive reinforcement can come into play. You have to put in the effort to strengthen your bond with your child, and in the process of it, you have to encourage your child to accept this behavior from you and align himself with you in the same manner.
For example, if you've been putting in some effort to watch your child's favorite TV show with them and one day your child reminds you about the show themselves, take that moment to express your happiness.
Make your adult children know that you're glad they wanted you to spend time with them watching that show. The idea is to make your grown children realize that you value them, and it makes you tremendously happy when they value you back.
Usman Akram is a student learning and researching family relationships and, more specifically, 'Parenting'. He's committed to helping parents deal with problems in child-rearing and raising the best version of their kids. Along with some knowledgeable bloggers, he runs a Blog, ParentoMag, presenting Parenting Solutions and Tips.