How to Build Strong & Positive Parent-Child Relationships: 17 Tips

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:10
Build a lasting, caring connection by using this simple guide Parent-child relationships are incredibly important, setting a precedent for all of the child's future relationships, too—so how can you ensure the relationship between you and...
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Parent-child relationships are incredibly important, setting a precedent for all of the child’s future relationships, too—so how can you ensure the relationship between you and your child is positive? We’re here to help. Great parent-child relationships take time and care to cultivate and foster autonomy, curiosity, and confidence in children. Read on, and we’ll show you how to improve your relationship with your child by getting involved in their lives, building stronger communication, and much more.

Things You Should Know

  • Positive parent-child relationships are important because they help children learn about the world, grow, and build healthy relationships with others.
  • Strengthen your relationship with your child by spending quality time with them, giving them affection, and actively listening to them when they speak.
  • Developing trust between a parent and child is also critical because a sense of security can give a child the confidence to explore and try new things.

Play together.

  1. Get on your child’s level to connect in an age-appropriate way.
    This will enrich your relationship with them, and help them bond with you! Play with them on a level that your child is familiar with, whether they’re a toddler, adolescent, or teen. The more they interact with you this way, the more approachable you’ll be in your child’s eyes.[1]
    • For example: if you have a toddler, get down on the floor with them and build a tower out of blocks, or play with their toys!
    • If you have older adolescents or teens, join in on a round of video games or take up a sport they enjoy.
    • Try following your child’s lead and watching them as you play. What do they want to do? What entertains them? Respond to the things they say or do rather than trying to control the activity.
    • You might even find that you can spark a conversation with your child more easily while playing than while at the dinner table.
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Joke around with them.

  1. Show them that parent-child relationships aren’t always serious.
    While it’s important for kids to respect your authority, that isn’t the only aspect of your relationship. You can also laugh and joke with them—and a sense of fun can liven up their lives, building fond memories that your child will likely carry into adulthood.[2]
    • If you have a smaller child, make crazy faces or noises while you’re playing with them (or during a meal).
    • You can get a little more creative with adolescents or older children. Pull pranks (if they enjoy them), or tell jokes when you’re spending time together.

Set aside “family time.”

  1. Bring the family closer together by scheduling regular family time.
    While children need to know that you respect their individuality, it’s just as important to uplift the family as a unit. To do this, make family time a regular (and special) part of your routine.[3] Come up with activities your entire family (whether that means one child or multiple children) can do together.
    • Eating meals together is a great way to establish family time! Have everyone put away their phones, sit together, talk, and share the highlights or pitfalls of their day.
    • Beyond that, you could go to sports events, see movies, or go to museums, zoos, and other fun, family-friendly attractions together.
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Give each child one-on-one time.

  1. Quality time can help you connect with each individual child.
    It also builds up your child’s self-esteem and lets them know that they’re valued as separate people, independent of their siblings. So, if you have multiple kids, set aside time with them individually and get to know each of their special strengths and talents![4]
    • Try finding a shared hobby to enjoy with each of your children. You might teach one to fish on weekends while working with another to practice their piano skills.
    • You might even schedule special “dates” or weekly blocks of one-on-one time with each child, doing anything from taking a walk to watching a movie—just the two of you.

Be available and communicative.

  1. Turn off your technology to show your child that they’re a priority.
    Most people rely pretty heavily on technology (like phones, tablets, and TV) nowadays—and kids aren’t the only ones who can get absorbed! In fact, being distracted while your child is trying to get your attention might make them feel ignored, so do your best to put the technology away before interactions.[5]
    • For example, you could turn your phone off or leave it in your bedroom before spending quality time with your child to signal that you’re focused on being in the moment with them—no distractions.
    • That way, asking your older children to put their devices away won’t seem so much like you’re singling them out. You’re doing it, so they can, too.
    • You don’t have to do this all the time. Even a little time each week with no distractions or technology can go a long way! For example, you might choose a specific night each week to eat dinner without TV or phones around.
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Set rules and boundaries with them.

  1. Structure helps kids develop and learn to manage different situations.
    In other words, they need some structure and guidance! And, while it’s normal for every child to push the envelope a bit and misbehave, your response matters. Ensure your kids understand your rules and expectations—and the consequences of breaking those rules.[6]
    • Remember to set age-appropriate consequences in place. When in doubt, follow the 3 F’s of effective parenting:
      • Be firm. Clearly explain the consequences of breaking rules and apply them consistently.
      • Be fair. Make sure the punishment fits the crime, and avoid harsh or excessive consequences with disciplining your child.
      • Be friendly. When your child acts out, talk to them in a steady, polite tone. Avoid raising your voice.[7] Explain the rule they broke and lay out the consequences. Also, take time to praise them when they are doing well.

Get involved in their lives.

  1. Keep up with their academics, friendships, and extracurriculars.
    To have a good relationship with your child, saying more than “good morning” and “good night” to them each day is important. Make an effort to get to know them and learn about what’s happening in their lives, even if you’re busy juggling work and other responsibilities. It shows how much you care![8]
    • If you have free time, offer to volunteer at school, coach a softball game, or meet with your children’s teachers to stay updated on their academic performance.
    • Sit down with them as they do homework. Help them practice their lines for the school play or answer their math questions when they struggle.
    • Invite their friends over so you can get to know them, too (and what kind of influences your kids are around).
    • Try having relaxed, side-by-side conversations with them. Face-to-face conversations can be intimidating, whereas talking side-by-side takes some of the pressure off. For example, you could talk while driving in the car or baking in the kitchen.
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Show them you’re trustworthy.

  1. The importance of trust between parents and children can’t be overstated.
    Part of being a good parent means showing your child that they can rely on you to be there for them—so when you say you’ll do something, keep your word and do it! This can help your child form secure attachments (which may also influence future relationships).[9]
    • Building trust also means respecting your child’s need for privacy and keeping their confidence when they share things with you.
    • Trust doesn’t necessarily mean believing whatever your child says, but it does mean trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Listen and empathize with them.

  1. Actively listening to your child can pave the way for mutual respect.
    Even if they’re complaining about the same old issue at school or teenage drama, give them your full attention. When you actively listen, you’re showing your child that they matter to you. Try to see things from their perspective, too; acknowledge their feelings out loud and reassure them that you want to help.[10]
    • To practice active listening, focus solely on your child (and their words). Turn to face them and make eye contact, listening without judgment or negative facial expressions.
    • Once they’re done speaking, summarize what you herd. For example, if your child said, “All the girls at school are going to the camp-out next weekend, but we have that stupid wedding,” you might say, “It sounds like you’re frustrated because you can’t go to the camp-out.”
    • Listening actively to your child and empathizing with their situation also tells them that they can come to you with problems in the future.
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Be affectionate toward them.

  1. Touch and affection sets the stage for healthy emotional development.
    There are many ways to show your child that you love them, and physical affection is a big one! Give your child hugs and gentle touches (like holding their hand if they’re younger or comforting them with gentle pats on the back) throughout the day. Showing affection is sure to make your child feel safe and cherished![11]
    • When talking to them, send plenty of positive signals, too. Smile, make firm eye contact, and keep your posture open (with arms and legs uncrossed) to show them that you’re genuinely happy to see them.

Say “I love you” every day.

  1. Children deserve to know they’re loved unconditionally.
    And, even if you’ve said “I love you” before, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t say it again—often. Saying “I love you” every day can ensure your child feels loved no matter what and ultimately change your relationship for the better.[12]
    • It’s especially important to say “I love you” when your child is being difficult or acting out. They need to know that, even when you fight or scold them, you still love them unconditionally.
    • As a general rule, try having at least 5 positive interactions every day per 1 negative interaction.
    • For example, if you and your child argue once, counter it with 5 acts of love and care throughout the day—including saying “I love you,” hugging them, or praising them for something.
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Appreciate them for who they are.

  1. Acceptance can encourage your child to keep sharing with you.
    Does your child love books? Ask them to tell you all about their favorite book, or take them to the library to find their next read. Is your child sporty? Cheer them on at games, or ask them about their favorite team. The more you show interest in your child’s passions, the more they’ll want to open up to you.[13]
    • This is true even if you don’t share your child’s interests. Maybe they love games, and you don’t care for them—but it’s still important to show your child that their interests matter.
    • So, make an effort to play their favorite board game, or ask them about the video game they’re playing. Those gestures matter!

Include them in more decisions.

  1. Let them have a say in decisions to show that you value their opinion.
    Some parents bark out their decisions instead of letting their kids play a role. And while making decisions on behalf of a small child makes sense, asking teens and young adults for their input can give them a sense of autonomy and confidence! Then, after involving your child in a decision, follow through to show that their opinions matter.[14]
    • For example, you could ask a younger child what they want to wear for the day or what activities they want to do.
    • Then, you could start asking an older child to weigh in on bigger things, like what to eat for a family meal or where to go on vacation.
    • For example, you might say, "Jackson, what's your suggestion for this week's family movie night?" or "Where would you like to go for summer break?"
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Let them help you out.

  1. Accepting their help builds trust, confidence, and rapport between you.
    Even if doing things by yourself is easier or faster, having your kids join in and help can bring you closer together—so why not try it? As they help you (and the two of you work together), you’ll have more time to connect, encourage them to open up, or simply laugh and joke around with them.[15]
    • For example, you could ask your child to help you plant a few vegetables in the garden. That’d give you time to talk—and it might even get them invested in caring for the garden, seeing how many veggies they can grow.

Encourage their independence.

  1. A strong relationship can empower your child to explore the world.
    When they feel safe and secure with you, they’ll also feel more confident in their ability to take on challenges and go beyond their comfort zone.[16] Be your child’s greatest supporter and give them more responsibilities to help them develop self-confidence over time.
    • For example, you might let your teen handle their own laundry to get them ready for college life.
    • You might also coach your child on how to stand up to a mean classmate or speak up (respectfully) to a teacher who gave them an unfair grade rather than doing it for them.
    • Empowerment happens through gradual change. Teach your child how to take on more demanding chores or tasks or roleplay with them through social situations. Then, give them feedback to encourage progress!
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Adjust your rules as they get older.

  1. Give your child more privileges to show that you trust them.
    As mentioned above, children need more independence as they age—so consider revisiting the rules and boundaries you set in place. After all, the curfew for a 4-year-old probably won’t work for a 13-year-old! However, this may also translate to more serious consequences if they break the rules.[17]
    • Encourage your children’s cooperation (and include them in more decisions) by sitting down and discussing the rules with them.
    • For example, you might say, “It seems like you haven’t had any problem sticking to your 9 pm curfew. Since you’re older, I think we’ll extend that by an hour. How does that sound?”

Open up to them over time.

  1. Let them see that you’re a person—not just a parent.
    As your children mature, it’s okay to relax, show them your human side, and let the “parent” hat slide a little. In fact, letting your kids glimpse the person underneath can actually help them feel closer to you and reinforce important lessons. Try sharing more personal, age-appropriate stories with them as time goes on![18]
    • For instance, if you were bullied in school, share that experience with your child and explain how you got through it.
    • If your child is being bullied themselves (or is witnessing someone else get bullied), they might learn from your experiences—and look at you with even more respect and admiration.
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