How Working Parents Can Build and Keep Strong Family Bonds
Parenting is a tough job, and in today's society being a parent is harder than ever. Most households with two parents, are looking at or also need two incomes. Both parents are working full time and nowadays, full time is rarely a 40 hour week. Many times working parents are putting in 60, 80 or more hours. If they are not at the office or job site working, they are traveling or bringing it home with them to finish up. Unfortunately, even working this hard sometimes, the ends barely meet when it comes paying the bills and other financial obligations.
As a result, children are often left in the care of schools, daycares, and after care programs. This leaves parents struggling to provide for their families both financially and emotionally. Being disconnected leads to a host of problems, and leads children to believe that they can not come and talk to you as their parent when they need assistance. There are a few things that as working parents you can do to help provide and maintain a connection with your children.
The first step to building and maintaining a connection between you and your children is to make sure you take some time out of every day that is time for them alone. While this may seem difficult to do with the hectic lives and schedules it is necessary. Your children need to know that you care, and taking a little time out of even the busiest schedule to sit down, help with homework, listen about their day, or do something you know they like to do, can make a world of difference.
Designate family time. These are activities that everyone loves. If you can not agree, do not force the child who hates outdoor activities to do a weekend camping trip. Instead, look at doing something locally that will still meet the criteria of an outdoor activity without creating resentment. The time you have with your family is precious. It should not be wasted in arguments.
Make sure to keep up with what interests your children. No matter how hard you are trying, if you bring home a toy robot, and your child is into Mecha model building, you will end up distancing yourself. Keeping up may be difficult to do, but even if you are one of the busiest working parents in the world, bringing home something that will fall into your child's interests, or being able to discuss them and learn about them can make a huge difference.
If your job takes you away for long periods of time, be sure to call, email or talk daily. I always try to do this, even if it is a few minutes before their bedtime and you tell them you love and miss them. You may find being away but maintaining this line of communication can help to make your child more willing to talk to you. Children and adults can often write out things they could never talk about verbally.
Make a point of keeping in touch with who your child is hanging out with. Take the time to meet them and talk to them. As kids grow, they are highly influenced by their peers. Children who have less of a connection with their parents are even more likely to be influenced. Taking the time to notice your child's friends, and know who they are, can help to keep you in the loop with your child.
Take care of your health and yourself. Children can be highly sensitive and considerate. Depending on the situation they may choose not to come to you if they feel that they may create an additional burden. This leads to an increase in the amount of stress and difficulties your children may have.
Avoid the situation of saying "I'm in the middle of work can it wait or I'm working can we talk about this later." Take the time to pause and listen to what your child has to say. It may be nothing but there is the possibility that it may also be something important. Children are more likely to say "yes it can wait" and never bring the topic up again than they are to actually wait especially on topics that require courage to discuss.
The biggest thing that a working parent can do for their children, and the connection between them, is to maintain and open line of communication. No matter what type of communication this may take. Keep a close eye and notice changes as they come up. You child will appreciate the fact that you are aware of these changes even if the time you have to spend is short.
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