According to an article from Psychology Today, connection to their parents is one of the only reasons children follow their parents' rules. Kids who feel connected to their parents want to cooperate as much as their developmental stage allows.
To keep a relationship strong and healthy, psychologists say you need five positive interactions for every one negative interaction. I know I spend quite a bit of time correcting behavior, reminding my kids about manners, scolding them to stop touching each other, etc. so I am likely not matching the 5 to 1 suggestion. Note to self: work on that...
If you're like me a need a little help with the positive actions, here are a few the article suggests that I think will be helpful.
1. Connect before transitions. Kids have a hard time transitioning from one thing to another. If you look him in the eye, use his name, and connect with him, then get him giggling, you'll make sure he has the inner resources to manage himself through a transition.
2. Make time for one-on-one time. Do whatever you need to do to schedule 15 minutes with each child, separately, every day. Alternate doing what your child wants and doing what you want during that time. On her days, just pour your love into her and let her direct. On your days resist the urge to structure the time with activities.
3. Welcome emotion. Sure, it's inconvenient. But your child needs to express his emotions or they'll drive his behavior. Besides, this is an opportunity to help your child heal those upsets, which will bring you closer. So summon up your compassion, don't let the anger trigger you, and welcome the tears and fears that always hide behind the anger. Remember that you're the one he trusts enough to cry with, and breathe your way through it. Just acknowledge all those feelings and offer understanding of the pain.
4. Bedtime snuggle and chat. Set your child's bedtime a wee bit earlier with the assumption that you'll spend some time visiting and snuggling in the dark. Those companionable, safe moments of connection invite whatever your child is currently grappling with to the surface, whether it's something that happened at school, the way you snapped at her this morning, or her worries about tomorrow's field trip.
5. Show up. Try this as a practice: When you're interacting with your child, show up 100 percent. Just be right here, right now, and let everything else go. You won't be able pull this off all the time. But if you make it a habit several times a day, you'll find yourself shifting into presence more and more often, because you'll find it creates those moments with your child that make your heart melt.
To read the full list of 10 habits, find the full article here.