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Bind us together

Dawn Gibson
Monday, May 19, 2014

THE idea of creating an environment of understanding within families is slowly becoming more common globally, because so much of the literature explains that children who come from such upbringings are often well-rounded, balanced individuals.

Dr Jiko Luveni, in an interview over the weekend, said in Fiji, communities were slowly coming to realise that small things like expanding family time or nurturing the relationship between child and parent, make a big difference in people's lives.

"Nurturing a close relationship between parents and their children right from the beginning is important, spend quality time with your children at home and don't just talk about it.

"Just something small at least, like speaking to them and spending those few extra moments with them discussing their day, or their aspirations, just some time with them every day."

Dr Luveni said mornings and evenings provided great opportunities to engage in quality family time, even if it's just for half an hour, but that it has to be continual.

"Both parents need to be part of this process, have time with your children and also maybe do some father-son bonding and some mother-daughter bonding as a separate thing, because these are very important relationships to nurture as your child grows.

"Have morning tea together, after school, talk to them about their day and ask them what they did, how their day went, just those small communications.

"Giving children a hiding doesn't work, what works is having a good family relationship which is nurtured regularly, where there is respect, love and openness, where children are able to open up to their parents about issues and vice versa."

She said parents who had children in different age groups needed to tend to the individual needs of each child and not just lump every one of them into the same category.

"Some parents have children who are very young and want attention in terms of loving gestures, while they also have a teenage child who requires maybe a listening ear. These needs have to be taken into account.

"You'll be amazed at how important things like taking your young children to a park for an hour or so a couple of times a week can build good family relationships, while at the same time discussing with your older children their interests or their aims in life.

"When you nurture a close relationship, especially between parents and children, it becomes less of a challenge to communicate important issues and advice to your child as well."

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