Use little gestures to show your children you love them. They are a great way of connecting and are easier to accept sometimes than words.
Often referred to as Reconciliation Gestures these are one of the key aspects of NVR. Increasingly I’ve been using the term relational gestures as it helps to think about them in a broader way and they are not just about reconciling. NVR is based on actions rather than words, which is one of the reasons that these gestures are so powerful. Gestures show your child you love them and are unconditional and considered.
Relational gestures can help you connect with your child and remind you of the positive feelings you have for them. This is especially good when things are tough. Relational gestures also show your child you have positive feelings for them, which helps their self-esteem They are fab for showing our kids we love them irrespective of their behaviour. If this feels like the last thing you want to do, even more reason to do it because it will connect you back with your positive feelings for them.
Here’s some ideas you could try:
- send them a text message
- give them their favourite desert
- take then to the park to play
- watch their favourite programme with them
- a note in their lunch box or on their pillow
- put their favourite music on in the car
- read them their favourite book
- give them a drink without them asking for it
Nothing big and don’t make a ‘thing’ out of it, just do it without saying anything. The spontaneity of the gesture is one of the powerful aspects of them. The child is not working towards them, it does not depend on them ‘being good’, they are just given. The feeling you get when you receive an unexpected present is the feeling we want our children to have.
If they are rejected, that’s telling you something about how your child is feeling, so don’t take it personally but do keep going with the gestures and maybe adapt them to make it easier to accept. How often do you brush off compliments? It’s the same thing. It isn’t unusual for ‘bad’ behaviour to follow a gesture as the child tries to prove to themselves and those around them that they don’t deserve to be loved. So be ready for this, should it happen, and keep going with the gestures.
Over time as you use NVR and keep going, their self-esteem will start to improve and they will be able to accept the gestures, even if they do not entirely believe they are deserved.
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The Connective Parenting Hub also has lots of resources, access to experts and a supportive community of parents www.sarahpfisher.com/connectiveparentinghub