The connection you have with your child can be symbolized by a cord—a link that connects you to your child and your child to you. When your connection is strong you feel loved and cherished, and so does your child. When the cord is shaky and unstable, you are both left feeling like you need space and distance, and this can inhibit growth. One of the most important things to understand as a parent is that your child, from the moment they are born, desire freedom.
The idea that you ever need to “cut the cord” between you and your child seems illogical and disheartening. You want, and should, have a continuous connection to your child. It may change and grow throughout the years, but it doesn’t have to be severed. When the child’s cord is in a continuous state of shakiness and confusion, as a parent, this is your time to shine. Your child is inevitably going to have to make some difficult life choices right from the get-go, and you should be there guiding them. When they are interacting with other children and adults, every move they make can alter their perspectives about life and who they want to be.
It is with the Choice Parenting understanding that you are not controlling your child’s behavior, but by creating a strong bond, you can be a guiding voice. Just think, would you rather speak to someone who is yelling and telling you how to live your life, or would you prefer to speak to someone who listens and then responds? As humans, we are more willing to connect and create a stronger bond with someone we trust, someone who understands boundaries and someone we respect.
Melissa is the mother of a 16-year-old boy named Jacob. Jacob continues to ignore Melissa’s curfew rules. Jacob is not always late but when he is, he is late by hours. Each time Jacob comes home late, Melissa responds by yelling. The relationship between Melissa and Jacob has since deteriorated and Melissa’s wife is worried that she is pushing Jacob away. This is a classic case of control vs. freedom. Knowing that Jacob understands what the curfew rules are and continues to be in a power struggle with Melissa, we can try something different. Melissa can try and heal the bond between her and her son by not yelling or even mentioning the curfew rules if Jacob comes home late again. Once the relationship has improved, then Jacob will be more aware and concerned with honoring the curfew rule.
If Melissa continues to be frustrated about the curfew rules instead of building a better relationship with Jacob, Melissa might miss a crucial time in her relationship with her child.
Now this may seem a little far-fetched, letting Jacob stay out past his curfew, but of course we are under the assumption Jacob is safe. This is done when parents have continued to lash out and are still getting nowhere with their child. This is because it’s not about the rules, it’s about the relationship—it’s about the cord—the connection you have with your child.
At the age of 16 Jacob could start to get into situations where safety becomes an issue, and with that in mind, wouldn’t you want a relationship where your child felt connected to you, felt secure enough to get advice, and talk about what’s going on in their lives with you? If you are someone your child comes to for guidance, then you have a healthy connection.
This bond you want to create with your child is innate, but it is also a two-way street. It’s important to try your best to create a relationship with your child instead of dominating the relationship, and this will in turn help meet both yours and your child’s needs.
Jacob and Melissa don’t have to live in a continuous power struggle. Once both parties feel a strong connection, they can start to heal. Melissa and Jacob will not only learn to better communicate, but they will also learn to respect one another. This bonding could have an effect on the entire family, leading to a healthier, happier lifestyle.
Can you think of a time that you felt especially connected to your child?
Written By: Hannah Slattery
Primason, R. (2004). Choice parenting: a more connecting, less controlling way to manage any child behavior problem. New York: iUniverse.