Jonathan is is driving back home from work. He feels exhausted and even though he adores his family, he feels really overwhelmed that he will have to face his children in a while and they will require from him to play with them. “I just want to lie quietly on the couch and watch TV” he thinks to himself full of quilt and despair.

When he gets home his 7 year old son and 3 year old daughter are rushing to welcome him. “Give me some time to unwind kids and I will come and play with you”. He seats on the couch feeling very heavy not wanting to make any other move. Not long after, his children start playing and shouting around him. He desperately tries to make them stop and five minutes after he starts shouting at them “Enough! you do not respect the fact that I have been working all day long and I am tired...Go play somewhere else. Let me get some rest”. Both children are looking at him with a terrified,sad face. The young girl starts crying and they both run away.

He now sits there feeling incompetent to respond to his role as a father and full of guilt for shouting at them….

He stands up and goes to their room… “Kids...I am really sorry I shouted at you before...How can I make it up to you?”

“We want to play for another hour, we do not want to go to bed now”

“I am sure your mom will not like this at all but..ok, I will talk to her”

After one hour the children are exhausted and it is really past their bedtime… they now get really irritable...They start fighting and whining. After a few minutes of chaos the parents finally manage to put both children in bed…

Both of them are now sitting on the couch feeling so tired. They don’t even want to speak to each other…

“What a day...I am going to sleep” says Jonathan… ]

Being a parent today is very challenging! With so  many responsibilities and high expectations we have very little energy to be able to cope with parenthood. Our children are constantly 100% energy in contrast to us who have drained energy very quickly during the day.

The time we devote to our family is often limited and many times we are guided by guilt when parenting our children.

In fact, 62 percent of full-time working fathers and 48 percent of working mothers report they don’t spend enough time with their children, with the main reason being their work obligations according to a 2017 Pew study.

So how can we create a healthy relationship with our children without having to “bribe” them in to cooperation or punish them afterwards and regret it?

Have in mind that your children cannot understand  that you are tired when you get home from work. They have been expecting to see you all day long. Most of the times parents ask for some time to unwind and then attend to their children but this makes the children feel that they are not worthy of their parents attention so they become agitated and try to earn it by acting out or not cooperating with us.

The first thing one can do is to connect with them! There are a million ways to connect with your children, it depends on your mood! The best two ways are through play and physical bonding like hugging and kissing! If the minute you walk into the house you show interest to their existence, hug and kiss them without rushing or just pay attention to them for a while and be really present while they play, there is a greater chance that they'll give you  the time you need to unwind and they will surely be more cooperative.

So here are the three things that will help you create an amazing relationship with your children:

  1. Do not rush home or take some time to do your own thing.
    Even Though our time is limited, 10 minutes on your own after work is enough to refocus. Take some deep breaths, “flush” all thoughts from your mind for as long as you can and Just be. You can do this in the car if you find difficulty finding another place.

It is vital, as a parent, to do activities that satisfy your needs as a person. By that I mean anything that can give you pleasure and joy like going to the gym or have a hobby. In this way you will not feel trapped in parenthood.

Elena, a successful chartered accountant, admits: “Since I started going to the gym and attending to acting lessons, which has always been my passion”, I feel more energetic and I enjoy the time with my children more than before. Now I know that I have some time to do my own thing and this makes me feel more alive and happy”

 

  1. Change your mindset. Do not expect your children to understand you.
    As a parent I have felt a million times the need to be understood by my children, especially when I am really tired or frustrated. The more I concentrate on that expectation though the more I get frustrated as most of the times are incapable to “walk into my shoes”. Thy never experienced what I am experiencing at that time...So how would they know how I feel.
    An attitude of “I am tired, just leave me alone” will just make them feel rejected, unimportant and will push them away from you. Be empathetic. One of the greatest needs of humans is to be appreciated. A person might struggle for all of his life to prove that he is worthy, especially to their parents.They are in NEED to be seen by you, to feel important, to feel that you are happy to see them. So concentrate on their need first and then try to nurture yourself too.

Seeing every situation through their eyes and try to be empathetic and supportive to your children is the core of a healthy and strong relationship.

 

  1. Create routines and have cooperation with your spouse.

Children love to know what is going to happen next. Having morning and night routines gives your children a sense of safety and saves you from many useless battles for everyday stuff. When we say routine, we mean a series of steps that we follow consistently every day.

Here is an example of a Night Routine: Have dinner around 7, play until 8 and then bath and pijamas follow! After that children must remain in their bedroom until they sleep. You can read stories, sing lullabies and then it’s sleep time.

It is best to create the routines with your children's cooperation! Let them say which quiet activities they prefer to include in their routine! You can even draw together and color the steps of the routine and hang it on the bedrooms wall!!!

When you stick to your routines your children will be more cooperative as repetition makes the routine a habit for them. So you will have less struggle to switch from one task to the other. When you do not have any routines the time is unstructured and most of the times the schedule is created by the kids which is really frustrating for the parents.

Jonathan, from the previous story not only “broke” the routine but he also was opposite to their mothers limit to go to bed at that time. When a parent ignores the limits of their spouse a huge confusion is created in the children's minds. They do not know what is wrong and what is right and they also learn that when one parent doesn’t grant their wish they will turn to the other one.

In order to have cooperation in the family we must have a few house rules that we all agree and follow all the time. Otherwise we will often have arguments and power struggles with our children as well as our spouse.

 

As with all relationships, if you want to have strong bonds, you must focus more on what the other person feels and experiences and what YOU can offer them without waiting for anything in return.

Our children are just the same as us, just in a smaller body. When we treat them with respect to their needs, whilst covering our own needs, our relationship will always be healthy and strong!

We've all been there. There is nothing more fulfilling than looking into your children's eyes and see love coming towards you. No fear. No grievance.

Our children always strive to make us proud and they want to feel that we are happy to have them in our lives, not a burden for us or being another thing on our busy schedule.

So if you grab every chance to show them that you appreciate their existence you