To strengthen parent child relationship one has to strive to keep a balanced approach. The role of a parent evolves from nurturer, guide and lastly to a friend. Until the age of seven or eight years if a child make mistakes then you have to guide them and even discipline them if necessary. Till the age of twelve to fifteen you can guide them but after sixteen you have to become their friends.

Theoretically, we know only love and understanding can touch a child’s heart but practically there is a gap - which we want to fill up! So let's learn how to work on this precious relationship to nurture our child to grow into a happy and confident human.

Awareness of these Keys will keep you focus:

1) Every child is unique and bring with them their personalities at birth, you have to just help and nurture them so that they flourish. Just like seeds which bring with them what tree they will grow into - orange or apple - so does your child. He/She brings with them the seed karma of who they will grow up into. There is nothing like orange is better than apple or vice versa. All personalities are unique and when nurtured in the right way will blossom beautifully. Just look around and you will find there are many successful people who are either introverts or extroverts. There is no stereotype like one is better or happier than another. Your child will be more like both of you. Love yourself and love your child unconditionally.

2) Encourage the positive side of your child and don’t focus or ignore the negatives - like we appreciate the flower but ignore the thorns. The positive side within them will blossom so much that their negatives will shed away. The burden is of the negative you see in your child, once you realize this fault of yours - you will be free. Take some time and list down the positive points you appreciate in your child, yes right now close your eyes think of their smile, nature, wonderful acts and so on.

3) Strive to achieve a balanced approach towards positive parenting by beholding love in one eye and strictness in the other eye. Strictness does not mean anger, but it means to ‘blow off hot air’ that too very rarely. You may have to scold them dramatically with firmness in your tone but without spoiling your facial expressions. There are parent types who are over authoritative, always giving their children instructions and rules, or overprotective always trying to please their child. Excessive attention suffocates the growing child.

4) Fulfill your duties, even if your child speaks to you rudely and is disrespectful towards you. Your duty as a parent should be to nurture and raise your child well and direct him on the right path. If he speaks to you in a disrespectful manner, and you do the same to him, he will become rebellious. Analyze what triggers disrespectful behavior in your child, give a good thought over it you will get an idea to overcome it. Param Pujya Dadashri, an enlightened being says, behavior is the result of our understanding. Sit with your child and explain things to him in a gentle and loving manner when things have cool down. If you become a friend to your children, they will improve. But if you assert your authority as a parent, you will risk losing them.

Practical insights for strengthening your relationship in everyday dealings:

1) Listen: To win their love and confidence in you - Listen to them and say something in agreement or keep mum but don’t jump to conclusion and oppose them during daily interaction like:

- When your child comes from school and says, ‘Oh, I am tired today and there is so much homework.’ Then just say something like, ‘Oh! you had a busy day!’

- When your child comes in angry or in a sulking mood and says, ‘Oh, I don’t like so and so, she cheats.’ Then just say ‘Oh, even I don’t like it when someone cheats.’

- Let them talk about their feeling freely with you – it is ok to be fearful, sad and confused at times. Feelings are temporary. Starts from small talks like when they say, ‘My friend teased me today’ - don’t jump to the conclusion of whether he was wrong or other person nor give any advice like, ‘People will tease only those who get teased easily’. Just make a sad face ‘Oh, dear!’ or sometimes try to ask questions in a calm voice going in detail of the situation. Avoid giving any solution or conclusion, let him derive one. Help them grow into confident person.

2) Talk: This is most important aspect in parenting - how to talk with children!

- Use logical reasons to convince a child instead of using anger and authority. As force may work immediately, but soon they might start arguing back. Minds blossom with communication not with fear.

- Speak calmly and with understanding and love, using only a few words and one day you will win him over. You will not reap its rewards immediately. Continue your love for a month and then see its results.

- Stay focused and don’t get irritated or carried away by misleading arguments. Today’s children are smart sometimes when they don’t want to study or want to have their way then they argue by pointing out your silly mistakes or complain about things. Do not get emotional and get dragged into arguments. Just say, ‘I will think over it’ and leave it. Take a step back and maintain your cool and focus on a solution to take things forward.

- Whenever you want to say something important, do not tell them immediately when the incident has happened. Wait for the situation to calm down for at least 24 hours, as it will allow you to handle the situation without getting emotional.

- Parents generally nag about unimportant things so much that the child don’t listen to them for important things. You should constantly maintain the intent that you want your child’s understanding to improve. Children will learn whatever they see in you. So if you nag or get upset, they will too. Whatever you do, they will imitate. Maintain equanimity and compassion towards your child, be patient give them some time to improve.

- Stop finding faults in their behavior. Instead of saying, ‘You are always lazy.’ You could use ‘Hey! You know you are happy when you are active.’ The words you speak install beliefs in their mind, which last for a lifetime. So make sure you use positive words to build their confidence. Never label or tag your child - like ‘You are fool, you are always careless, you always cheat, you never study, you are useless, and you are fat.’ The behavior is temporary but the label would remain forever ingrained within them. Such negative words always hurt.

- When your child does something wrong. The proper way would be to ask them in a friendly concerning tone, ‘My dear, have you thought about what you are doing?’ or ‘Does it seem appropriate to you?’ They are capable of judgment and understanding. They instinctively know when they are doing or have done something wrong. But when you start to criticize them, they will rebel and become indignant. Talk about behavior you want to encourage in your child rather than repeating the things you want to discourage.

- When they fail to complete a responsibility, do not nag them, instead talk to them in a friendly tone, how he could be more careful next time or show them how. The thing or work is already lost but do not sour your relationship with your child or destroy their confidence.

3) Spend time together like friends:

- Give child some household chores or ask them to help in your work from a very young age, so they value what they have and have sense of ownership. Let them fail, waste stuff and evolve as they experience.

- Laugh together. Show interest in things your child is interested in. You should do things as friend would with your child; play games, sports, talk about their video games, eat meals, drink tea together, tell stories, share your experience as a child etc.

- Every morning after they bathe, teach them to pray to the almighty for world peace and salvation. Pray with them, so they will learn from you.

- Like you accept your friend as he or she is, accept your child as well. Give advice only when asked - say what you think is right, but you should also tell him that he is free to do whatever he deems right for him. In this way you will do what you have to, without hurting his feelings and respect for him. If your friend is doing something wrong, how far will you go to caution him? You would only give him advice to the point where he listens, but you would not nag him.

- Adjust according to the times. If your child comes home wearing a new cap, don’t ask him, “Where did you get such a thing?” Instead, adjust and ask, “Where did you get such a nice cap from? How much did it cost? You have got a good bargain!” This is how you should adjust. What our religion says is, “See convenience when there is inconvenience.”

4) When things go wrong:

- There will be times, when things go out of control and we end up saying hurtful words to our child. First and foremost do not get emotional by going the guilt mode or getting angry and showing authority. It’s like vomit, it’s already done now needs to be wiped out. Gnani Purush Dada Bhagwan has shown us the ultimate way to wash our misdeeds - by Pratikraman (asking for forgiveness) we wash out our negative feelings from our heart. Therefore, the negative vibration stops from our side and eventually the other person will not have any complaints about us.

- When your child stops listening. Whenever you feel very deeply that you are saying things for your child’s benefit but they are not listening to you and on top of it ask you to stop lecturing. At such times when spoken words are not working and you want your child to improve - prayer is the ultimate tool. Empower yourself with prayer.

And above all, do not get overwhelmed by reading all this. Your determination of strengthening your relationship will guide you. Feel good about yourself that you are a self-aware parent who wants to work on improving this puzzling parent child relationship.

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Author's Bio: 

Ambalal M. Patel was a civil contractor by profession. In June 1958, spontaneous Self-Realization occurred within Ambalal M. Patel. From this point on, Ambalal became a Gnani Purush, and the Lord that manifested within him became known as Dada Bhagwan. A Gnani Purush is One who has realized the Self and is able to help others do the same. Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan used to go from town to town and country-to-country to give satsang (spiritual discourse) and impart the knowledge of the Self, as well as knowledge of harmonious worldly interactions to everyone who came to meet him. This spiritual science, known as Akram Vignan, is the step-less path to Self-realization.