How To Build Parent to Child Relationships
MARCH 9, 2020
“In a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family Values, 680 married couples were examined for signs of attachment/detachment behaviors within their relationship. Research showed that many individuals who had depression, anxiety and detachment behaviors had previously experienced detached childhood relationships with their parent(s). This history had a high correlation of depression and frustration between spouses later in life. However, most of those who experienced strong relationships, had experienced closeness as children with their parents.”2
The parent and child relationship must not go unnoticed because of how impactful the consequences that relationship has in the future. Sometimes a strong relationship will come naturally between a parent and a child, but other times it takes a lot of work. Below is a list of things that can help you strengthen that relationship.1
Your child does not know what you think in your head about them nor what you say to others about them. What your child does know is how you treat them. If each interaction is negative, then eventually your child will not want to be around you. Being warm and kind to your child and making each interaction pleasant and happy will go a long way. This will help your child feel more comfortable around you because they are relaxed knowing that you love them.
Have Boundaries, Rules, and Consequences
Having these three things does not make you a mean parent. How you deliver the rules, boundaries, and consequences is what your child will remember. Make sure your child clearly knows the rules and the consequences of breaking them. Children respect parents who have rules and follow through with the consequences. See the page, Responsible Discipline, from the American College of Pediatricians for good tips and guidance.
Listen and Empathize
Children need to be understood. Humans feel emotionally connected to those that they open up to and share things with. Be that person for your child. Do not try to force them to do things or fix their problems on their own every time. Most of the time your child just needs someone to listen to them. See the handout, Parenting your Teen.
Problem Solve Together
Working side by side with your child to figure things out will draw you closer together because of the communication involved in teamwork.
Tell Them You Love Them
This may be easy to do for some parents and really hard for others. It’s not difficult because those parents do not love their children, but if you were not told ‘I love you’ by your parents growing up, then it can feel really awkward to do it with your children. It is always worth it to tell your child that you love them. This will help your child express love better as well.
Quality/ Fun Time
Children love to have fun! Some of your children’s fondest childhood memories will likely be the fun memories you make with them. Make sure to play games that they want to play and relax and let go! Don’t be afraid to laugh and be silly with your child.
As a parent you have a responsibility to be the one who nurtures and protects your child. If you are only available at certain times, you may miss the times when your child needs you the most. Pay attention to your child to see when those times arise. Make it a habit to eat together as a family.
Spend Time One-on-One
Time with the whole family is great, but there are great benefits from getting in that one-on-one time. This also may not come naturally for some families, but the more often it happens, the easier it will get and the more comfortable you and your child will be around each other. These times are crucial because it will teach your child how to treat people because of the way you are treating them personally. The way a father treats his daughter on their one-on-one date, will set expectations in the girl’s mind on how her future spouse should treat her.
The amount of benefits that come from children feeling closeness to their parents is insurmountable. The way a parent treats a child growing up will affect how the child treats others, including their future spouse and children. As a Parent, having a one-on-one connection with your child will help you both feel more connected and loved, and bring happiness into your lives!
1.Admin. (2018, October 25). Parent-Child Relationship – Why it’s Important. Retrieved from https://www.parentingni.org/blog/parent-child-relationship-why-its-important/
2.The Importance of Close Parent-Child Relationships. (2017, May 8). Retrieved from https://www.acpeds.org/the-importance-of-close-parent-child-relationships?highlight=parent child relationship