Undoubtedly, parenting is hard in everyday normal circumstances. But when there's trauma in your family situation, such as divorce, deaths, accidents, illnesses, violence and assault, it becomes even more so. Sometimes these events can affect your relationship with your child.
Your child's reaction to it may be to withdraw inside himself and shut himself off from you, especially in the case of a divorce, and he may get angry at the event which can spill over to you. He may feel that he cannot trust in anybody or anything.
Trust is one of the most important ingredients in any relationship. Without it, there can be no relationship. Whatever your situation was that caused the distrust, you'd have to rebuild your relationship by building the trust. So how do you go about regaining your child's trust? Below are five suggestions.
1. Make dua
As with everything, start with putting your trust in Allah and make dua for your child and your relationship. This is the most easiest thing for you to do and the most powerful tool that Allah has given us.To read more about how to make dua for your child, read here.
2. Change your thought patterns
The first thing that parents feel when something happens to their child is that it's their fault. They feel that they're not a good parent or they can't do anything right and they're powerless and inadequate.
No, it's not your fault. You're not a bad mother. You're not useless. Stop telling yourself these things! If you change the things you say to yourself, you'll change your thoughts. So start saying, "I can do this. I'm a good mother. I care for my children. I'm enough." Say it every day and every hour if you have to, to stop those other negative thoughts creeping back in.
Keep saying it until you feel positive because when you feel positive, you'll feel more powerful and in control and you'll go and find solutions and do something about it.
3. Find little moments to bond and connect
It won't happen overnight with your child suddenly opening up to you. It'll start slowly with the little things that you do then when you have enough momentum it will pick up, inshaAllah.
Start with little gestures: smile at him more, say good words to him or a quick touch on the shoulder. These are little things that will build up over time and will lead to bigger moments such as conversations and even hugs and kisses.
If he doesn't want to talk then don't force it but just sit in his company for a few moments at a time. Let him get used to your close presence again. Instead of talking use gestures and body language. And listen, really listen to not only his words but his feelings. Watch for his emotions and reflect that back.
When you can pinpoint what your child is feeling and express it to him without judgement or advice or questioning then he'll feel that you can understand him. Once he feels that you've understood him then it's easier for him to trust and open up to you.
For more on active listening and nonverbal communications with your child, read here.
4. Offer support in words and actions
Always let your child know you're there for him. Keep telling him, "I'm here for you." "I've got your back." "You can count on me." Because trust is about being able to rely on you, feeling safe, both physically and emotionally, in your company and feeling confident that you can provide that reliability and safety.
So make sure your actions match your words. Be consistent. One day he will believe it too.
5. Make no judgements or give ultimatums
You might find that you're at your final straw and want to shake your child out of it. In which case you may get angry and start to attack your child verbally and even give him an ultimatum to snap out of it or else.
It doesn't work. The thing that it will do is make your child even more angry and he'll accept your ultimatum of or else. A decision that you'll both regret. Be patient. If you're doing number 1 of making dua then put your trust in Allah and be patient.
I pray that Allah heals your relationships with your children.