Being sincere is a great tool.
I find that being sincere with my daughter has helped us create a greater bond over the years. This bond is something that is deeply embedded in us, regardless of me being her father. It’s like a second thread that is parallel to me being her parent.
It’s hard to even imagine a me with her without that bond.
When I enter a field, while she is playing a sport, she gives me those eyes that say everything about how she feels at that moment:
the small squinty eyes, that there’s mischief afoot
the small round eyes that means there’s something wrong that happened
the surprised eyes that she just did something wrong and kinda wants me to know
the eye roll that means, whatever, you’re here, and I love you
the casual eyes that simply say You’re here, but I’m accomplishing something here daddy, watch and learn!
All these eyes, I find come out of a mutual respect that we have for one another, through an understanding of how we handle situations in a crisis. Which brings me to a technique that I have been using sparingly over the years, as over using it, might make it lose some of its meaning.
During some extreme emotional build ups, there is often very little to do to be able to bring a child’s mind down to reality. What I found to be a very intimate way to connect with my daughter and bring her back down to me, is this:
Gently press, palm out, fingers extended, on her belly
I take a deep, obvious breath first, then another while locking in on her eyes
Then I ask her to take a deep breath, then once obliged, I explain the technique to her to breathe from as deep in her belly as she can, expand her belly if possible as well, all the while me mimicking and doing what I am asking
Once tensions are relieved, I give her a hug, and tell her that if she wants to talk about it, we can, and if not, we can talk about it some other time
There is no real trick for this to work, as each situation is different, some might require a stronger tone, some a softer tone, and even sometimes I would recommend trying this before something bad happens, and even after, in between, etc. I find it adds more sincerity to it when it’s not done exclusively when something bad happens.
This creates a strong bond between her and I, and I hope that it helps assemble her ideas and thoughts during a crisis, not only with me, but with others. I feel that these small actions bring us closer together, and make our actions speak volumes.