Parent and Child Connection Time- Why is it so important?

Holding down a day job and meeting the demands of everyday life can make it seem almost impossible to develop a quality connection with your children. However, it is something that I hear myself bringing up often when I meet with parents.

It is usually relatively easy to read the signs and figure out when your child’s physical needs need to be met. Physical needs are signs such as your child showing you that they are hungry, need the bathroom or tired. However, it can be difficult to see the emotional signs that a child displays. Did you know that from the moment a child is born, a child give us signs about their emotional state.

These signs vary from child to child and is dependent on their age but things such as bringing you toys/random objects, talking to you and joining you in your personal space can all be indicators that your child would like to connect on an emotional level. 

Tips for quality connection time

·      Set aside daily time with your child. Try to do this face to face. If you are away and this is not possible, establish a routine for a video or phone call, leave a note in their lunchbox or a note by their bed

·      Create a special ‘thing’ to do with your child each day where you are on their level and allow the child the independence whilst around you. This can look like allowing the child to pick their bedtime story

·      Tell your child that you love them and how important they are to you daily

·      Try to be with your child during mealtimes. If you are not able to eat the entire meal with your child due to the timing challenges, sit and eat a healthy snack or part of the meal with them and use this time for casual and relaxed chat

·      Reinforce positive behaviour that you see happening. This helps create a sense of achievement and appreciation

·      Organise an activity of your child’s choice. Put this in your calendar and follow through with it. Importantly, put your phone away so that the two of you have no distractions!

·      Play with your child whenever you can. This can be during bath time, school drop off/ pick up- every opportunity is great

It is the quality of connection time that is really what is important.

Written by:
Renee Butler
SACAC Counselling

Is it good to be self-actualized?

There are many “goals” for counseling or psychotherapy. I would like to talk about one of the common yet highly ambiguous goal called self-actualization. Self-actualization has a very rosy connotation but on the contrary, I learned many downsides of this phenomenon during my training. According to Abraham Maslow (1962a), self- actualization involves getting out of enculturation which often is a comfort zone for many people. For Carl Jung (2017), individuation (other way to call self-actualization) includes inevitable process to confront one’s “shadow” for the “Self” become more whole.

When a person becomes more unique, open, independent, and secure, it naturally perturbs the established equilibrium in certain interpersonal or group dynamics. Some people might welcome it while others might not. Some could be refraining from individuation because her/his shadow or unconscious domain is overwhelmingly uncanny, and the stability of consciousness or ego could be greatly threatened in the process of such integration.

Therefore, the price to pay for one’s self-actualization can be quite substantial. If that is the case, why do we still strive for it? What is the driving force behind one’s motivation to self-actualize?

According to classic literature, one answer is because of “peak-experience”. Peak-experience is defined as “mystic experiences, moments of great awe, moments of the most intense happiness or even rapture, ecstasy or bliss (because the word happiness can be too weak to describe this experience)” (Maslow, 1962b, p. 9). According to many accounts of the informants, this rare experience made them perceive the world in a whole new way (Wuthnow, 1978). As the name implies, it is really the “peak” of one’s life and the experience is ultimately rewarding. Maslow observed that self-actualized individuals seem to have more peak-experience compared to the others. Although it is highly abstract and theoretical, below are how Maslow (Maslow, 1962a) attempted to describe the essence of peak-experience.

  1. Object is seen as a whole and is seen detached from the usefulness of the subject
  2. Full attention and complete absorption to the object
  3. The object is seen as it is in its pure form
  4. Richer perception
  5. Ego-transcending, self-forgetful
  6. Feeling that life is worthwhile
  7. Disorientation in time and space
  8. Subject perceives peak-experience as an absolute good
  9. Sense of absolute rather than relative
  10. Passive and receptive experience
  11. Sense of wonder, awe, humility before the experience
  12. One object seems to represent whole world
  13. Co-existence of abstract and concrete
  14. Fusion of dichotomies
  15. Love and acceptance of the world and of the person
  16. Perceiving uniqueness in everything
  17. Loss of fear, anxiety, inhibition, defense, and control

    Once a person goes through peak-experience, the painful journey of self-actualization is unconditionally rewarded. I speculate that this could be one of the reasons why our psyche is always aspiring to grow.


Jung, C. G. (2017). Mandala symbolism:(From Vol. 9i collected works) (Vol. 42).
Princeton University Press.
Maslow, A. H. (1962a). Toward a psychology of being (750459). Van Nostrand.
Maslow, A. H. (1962b). Lessons from the Peak-Experiences. Journal of Humanistic
Psychology, 2(1), 9–18.
Wuthnow, R. (1978). Peak Experiences: Some Empirical Tests. Journal of Humanistic
Psychology, 18(3), 59–75.

Written by:
Takashi Obana, PhD
Clinical Psychologist
SACAC Counselling