The basic foundation of every good relationship is friendship. To this end, communication is key. This is especially true of a parent-child relationship. While in the age of transition, it is seen that children struggle to understand and agree with their parents. In that process of change, effective communication is sidelined.
I, Anis Sajan, Vice-Chairman of Danube Group and my wife, Rubina Sajan, are parents to two children: Azhar (23) and Sahil (20). There is no denying the fact there is a visible generation gap between me and my children. Values, tastes and outlooks on life differ with each generation. In general, both parents and children do not see things from each other’s viewpoint. However, as a father of two, I believe that listening and empathising with children is important to strengthen that relationship. Here are a few things that parents can look into to have a better relationship with their children.
Be the first friend
Being the child’s first friend will build a special bond over the years and bring about a new way of parenting. While growing, children with more friends of their age start to spend less time with parents. By knowing their close friends and connecting with their parents and family you will get to know a lot about your child.
It is usually observed that sons are mama's boys; they are more open to their mums than their dads. Learning to put myself in my children’s shoes and trying to understand their thoughts as well as encouraging them to share their experiences has not only helped me to be their faithful father but also for them to be my faithful friends.
Lead from the front
As things move fast, little things like “special bonding time” are left behind. Technology affects the generation gap even more. Gone are the days when cell phones were used mainly when there was a dire need for communication. Gadgets definitely are part of your child’s personal time but times when they can be put aside for family interactions are becoming fewer and fewer. But should they alone be blamed for this? Not anymore. As a parent, it is our responsibility, too, to be gadget-free for at least some time every day, preferably at dinner time.
One meal a day
The simple act of talking to your children about each other’s day at the end of the one can close the generation gap to some extent. All great changes happen at the “Dinner Table”. At the same time, all the fondest memories happen when gathered around the dinner table. Keeping that time open for communication and building a bond is very productive. I am happy to find interaction with my children, Azhar and Sahil, is easy and makes us share an incredible positive connection. It also reassures them that their parents will be with them in even the hardest phases of their life.
The game-changer: Sports
As parents, we constantly compare our growing years to our children’s. How I used to let my imagination run wild in my childhood and do things out of curiosity have changed. Children are more glued to their gadgets and prefer online games to sports. As a sports aficionado and father, helping my children develop a healthy sports-playing routine was always a plus. Keeping them busy with sports will divert their attention from using gadgets 24/7. I am happy to go out and play cricket twice a week with Azhar and Sahil while developing a healthy rivalry in the game between father and son. This early-cultivated approach towards life will help them become ‘Accomplishers’ and ‘Explorers’ rather than just ‘Followers’.
Over the years I have seen parents missing out on family interaction. Giving our children space -- the right space -- is very important. This father’s day let us take the parent pledge and make a big difference happen.
Happy Father’s Day!