Nurturing Relationships Today For Tomorrow

April 2020

So… I have a teenage daughter. (She’s my eldest.) We have a great relationship… rare, I know. We talk about everything… well, everything within reason, and I get a regular de-brief of what goes on in her day and in her head. Last week, the “sex talk” happened. It’s probably a conversation that I, like the majority of the adult population out there, was worried about approaching. But surprisingly, it went really smoothly and was a really easy discussion. Quite probably because we already talk openly and often. Anyway, she started this one by asking a relatively innocent sex question, and I answered honestly, like I always do, then she asked some more questions and I answered. It really could have been a conversation about anything actually. Yes, it did go that well. No lie.

But my close relationship with my eldest didn’t happen overnight. Just like my relationship with my other two, didn’t manifest overnight. We’re all really tight and I’ve worked on the relationship with each of them differently… individually, and then collectively, and I’m ever-so grateful that I have. Over the years I’ve made the one-on-one time for each of them, noting what each one likes and doesn’t like, and made adjustments along the way. I started doing this when each of them were born. Actually no, I take that back. I started the “getting to know you” when they were still in my tummy. Each of them were showing parts of the personalities back then. My eldest was always active. My son would always do things in his own time and made a point of reminding me he was there. And my youngest was one for routine and sticking to schedules, which she’d remind me of, if I ever strayed from what she’d expect to happen.

I’m not saying that it’s only a mother who can have this kind of bond with their child. I believe that fathers can too. Or even someone in the extended family. This isn’t about when you start working on a relationship, how close or far you biologically are, or the length of time you spend on a relationship. It’s about being able to nurture a relationship and understanding that it’s going to take time and effort to strengthen and grow. It’s about watching, observing and taking (mental) notes, then testing the waters, and asking for and listening to their feedback, opinions and questions; And responding with patience and love. It’s like any other relationship in your life. If you want it to be a good, strong one, you need to work on it.

This is going to sound cliché, but right now, during this lockdown period… this is the perfect time to work on that relationship or any relationship for that matter, with another person or yourself. Right now, when you’re “stuck” in a confined space, with limited distractions and options, you’ll be able to fast track finding out many things about the person you want to nurture a relationship with. Why? Because you’re going to (very) quickly see and learn what it takes for you and / or the other person, to loose their patience. You’ll be able to quickly discover what makes them happy, what annoys them, how much alone time is needed and all the trigger points in between… Along with what it takes to calm down and hit that re-start button.

This about setting boundaries within a relationship. Understanding when to raise certain questions and when to pull back. When to keep poking and when to just stop and let it go. It’s also about learning new coping methods for when you can’t physically walk away or hide, because the confines of your home are, well, just too small for any kind of real separation.

I know it can be all a bit much when you’re trying to work from home as well, but if you set some boundaries for yourself and the ones whose relationship you’re nurturing, it’s manageable. It’ll also only ever get better and easier if you take the time to do this now.

So use this time to get to know yourself and those immediately around you, that little bit better. Use the time to talk together, a little bit more. To share a few more thoughts, opinions and feelings. To listen to what’s on their mind and in their heart. You never know, you might just learn a thing or two, as you travel along the way to a wonderful relationship. I know that I wish that my parents did that with me.

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