A strong parent-child relationship is the groundwork for healthy child development. It provides children with a sense of security, love, and support, which is essential for their emotional well-being. This relationship can also serve as the foundation for calm and positive discipline, that’s why we’re calling it a foundational relationship! You want to build a relationship that will support your parental guidance throughout the years.
The first step is to fill their emotional piggy bank with positive interactions. Here are some ways to do that, in order to build a foundational parent-child relationship:
Set aside dedicated time to engage in activities that your child enjoys, letting them direct your play together. This can be as simple as coloring, playing a board game, going for a walk, or reading together for even ten minutes! The trick? Be present and fully engaged during this time, and to use labeled praise to reinforce their positive behaviors. Tell them how great they are doing at whichever activity they have chosen! The goal is to create moments that allow you to spend time together, intentionally building a positive relationship with your child. This will not only help them to feel connected to you, but also will encourage them to work hard in their relationship with you.
Pro tip: this still applies with teenagers, their interests might just be a little older! If the idea of hanging out with you makes your teen cringe, try to be a little bit extra intentional during some of the time you’re already in the car together.
Bring on the warm and fuzzies! Express your love and affection for your child through hugs, kisses, and words of affirmation. Let them know that they are valued and cherished. This is an easy way to make deposits into your child’s emotional piggy bank throughout the day.
Be the Change
Children learn by example, so strive to be the person you want your child to become. Demonstrate kindness, empathy, and respect in your interactions with others, so that your child will do the same! Show your child that being a great person doesn’t mean having all the answers, but being open to learning and growing. Let them see you tackle challenges with a positive attitude! You’re not just a parent, you’re the coolest role model that they can learn from.
Practice open and honest communication. Create a non-judgemental space where your kiddo feels safe to share about their day, their dreams, and maybe even their secret ninja moves. But here’s the thing: you’ve gotta walk the walk too. Be real, be honest, and let them see the awesome human behind the parent title.
And again, with those teens–this is where time together in the car comes into play!All in all, a foundational relationship with your child gives you a place to work from when it comes to parenting your child. Many parents need help with figuring out how to build this relationship and connect with their child. If that sounds like you, reach out here!