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Parental guidance: Connect with your child at a deeper level

Through this fortnightly column, Sunaina Vohra helps you keep parenting sane and simple, and guides you to trust your intuition – because, no one knows your child like you do

Tabloid

I learnt a huge lesson this week. I had the opportunity to be the translator for some wonderful ladies who want to share the stories of the workers in Dubai.

I was given the task of asking questions to these workers to bring out their uniqueness and their dreams. So after warming up with “where are you from?” and “how long have you worked here for?” I asked them about what makes them different, what would their friends say about them. A few answered that they were very helpful and would always be there if anyone needed them. But most of them gave me blank stares and shrugged their shoulders and smiled saying they were not special.

As a youth and family life coach my interaction with these workers was both humbling and overwhelming at the same time. I always thought that I did a pretty good job of connecting with my clients, both adults and children, when I coached them.

But as I spoke to a particular worker who had the body of a 23-year-old 200kg man but the face and eyes of a 12-year-old, I found myself being transported to the scene where his mother back home had not eaten for eight days while he lay motionless in hospital after an accident. As his eyes glazed telling me that all he wanted was to be back in her arms, I found my own eyes wet with tears. This connection with someone to feel the depth of his pain in myself was an overwhelming experience.

As parents who want the best for our children we are constantly busy driving them from one activity to the other, researching the best schools and the best tutors for them. But one thing that we are all miss out in this fast paced life is connecting with them on a deeper level. How often do we look into the eyes of our children and feel their frustrations or irrational fears or joy? A lot of the emotional dramas that parents complain about their child can be eliminated if we build that soulful connection with our child and make him feel seen and heard.

A lot of times we avoid connecting with others due to the fear of what we might see and not be able to handle because we have not been able to clear our own emotional dilemmas. We cannot fill a full jug of water with more water than it cannot hold — it will overflow. A lot of the children I coach comment on how their parents need help in managing their emotions.

So work on yourself by connecting with who you truly are inside. Then spend some time daily with your children looking into their eyes and listen to them without judging or the need to offer solutions. Do not take everything your child says as a personal attack because they are still learning the skills of emotional management and you, as a parent, is their role model. The more you connect with your child on a deeper level, the more you will realise the drama lies in the complications you have created in your life, and not in your child. Many years from now, when your child is away, all he will remember is how it felt to be in your arms...

This is an interactive column on parenting skills and child behaviour. If you have a query, write to tabloid@gulfnews.com

— Sunaina Vohra is a certified Youth and Family Life Coach at Athena Life Coaching in Dubai. For more information log on to athenalifecoaching.com or call 056-1399033.

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