A sense of belonging is vital during the formative years of your child.
Have you used such statements?
It might be because of the lack of sense of belonging to the family.
- I feel like running away from this place
- Don’t feel I belong here
- I should not have come here at all
Imagine your child having a thought like that about home. Sounds unbelievable right?
Well, it happens.
A sense of belonging to the family is, where you make your child feel like an integral and cherished, part of the family.
There are two basic ways in which we interact with our children
- Hoist our decisions on them
- Make them a part of the decision-making process
Hoisting our decisions on them is like, “Make this for dinner”, or “Let us go to a holiday to…” or, “I have purchased this TV” or “We are shifting to a new locality”. It makes them feel isolated and like a tourist in their own home.
In day-to-day life, children like to believe that their opinion is valued. If you are making small decisions like, “What should we get for dinner?” or “Which movie should we watch?”, to bigger decisions like, “Should we buy a new TV?” or “Shift to a new locality?”, asking for a child’s opinion gives them a sense of belonging to the family.
When you involve them in the decision-making process, they feel like they have a say. They feel like their opinion matters.
Imagine someone always taking care of you and being there for you, but never asking for your opinion? Always making great food for you, but never asking do you like it or not? Always taking you to different places but never asking which place you love? This attitude makes you a robot. Just do as they say. Speak as they tell you to.
Instead of hoisting your decision, it is always good to discuss issues with your children. They get a sense of belonging.
Whenever there is an environment of a sense of belonging to the family –
- Laughter is easy
- Transparency is possible
- Hurt does not stay
- Anger might come but disappears quickly
- Nobody minds each other’s moments of weaknesses
- There is a tremendous bonding
- Intimacy develops
Without a sense of belonging, bonding is impossible. When there is bonding there is a belief within the child that, they are not alone. They have the fantastic support they can count on in moments of despair or decision making.
Another simple way of making your children believe that they belong is with a simple hug. I know that as parents we often hug our children before bed or when they achieve something. Give a few more hugs to instill a sense of belonging to your child. A wise man once said, “A family that hugs together, stays together”. Who is that wise man? Me, of course!!!
Actionable Parenting tip for creating a sense of belonging
Hug your child when they are right, but when they are wrong, give them a tighter hug. See, when a child is right, the entire world appreciates them. They are appreciated by so many people that if you miss appreciating them they will not feel so left out.
On the other hand, when your child does something wrong they need to know, even if the world is against them, the family will back them up. Their place at home is never under threat. They always belong there. At that time if you give your child a tight hug and tell them, “I understand my child, it happens” or “Do you need my help to bounce back?”, it can do wonders. You give them a sense of belonging through that tight hug.
When things are not working out well for them, knowing that they ‘belong’ to a loving family, lifts their spirits pretty fast and very high.
Need to belong is like oxygen. Just like a human being cannot survive without oxygen, a human being also looks for a sense of belonging to his family. Without a sense of belonging, we all feel lost.
The child needs a sense of belonging, and sense security at home. If a child does not feel that sense of belonging at home, it searches for other communities to belong to. Like, you might see children getting crazy tattoos or weird hairstyles. They might not even like it, but with those, they feel that they belong to a certain group of people. If they do not find that sense of belonging at home they tend to look elsewhere.
A sense of belonging is primary. Fill your child’s life with the feeling that you belong in this home, give them that security. Fill your family moments with unconditional hugs.
Children give simple and good insights. You will be amazed at their thought process and the value they bring to the discussion. Hug a lot, talk openly, and watch the magic happen. With a heightened sense of belonging, your kids will see you as a friend and connect with you, easily. You will be a lighter, warmer and a more expressive, family unit.
We know as parents you try very hard to give that sense of belonging to your child. For all your efforts, a big hug to you for belonging to the WOW parenting family.
If you are already doing it, you are a WOW Parent!