How To Improve Your Relationship With Your Child
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The depth of the love of parents for their children cannot be measured. It is like no other relationship. It exceeds concern for life itself. The love of a parent for a child is continuous, and it transcends heartbreak and disappointment.
~James E. Faust
Raising a child can be a wonderful experience; however, it can also be quite challenging and stressful at times. Truth-be-told, all relationships, including a parent-child relationship, experience “ups” and “downs” during different stages of life. That is normal. Relationships are meant to grow, change, and evolve. It takes love, determination, and persistence to maintain them. Do you remember the first time you gazed into the eyes of your precious “bundle of joy?” I bet you do. And, I bet your bond has grown every day since. Do not beat yourself up because your relationship is not “where you would like it to be.”
All parent-child relationships experience “bumps,” especially as your child goes through “the terrible twos,” all the way through the conflicting teenage years, and even through adulthood. You can improve your relationship with your child with a few positive changes. The key to successfully navigating parenthood is to “roll with the punches.” In other words, take life as it is, and be prepared to adapt to new situations and circumstances. Are you interested in learning new ways to improve your relationship with your child? If so, you are in luck. This article will teach you how to improve your parent-child relationship. Listed below are ways that you can improve your relationship with your child:
Make Your Child a Priority
If you want to improve your relationship with her child, it is imperative that you make him or her a priority. In other words, your child’s needs should come before your own. Show your child how much you really care by making time for him or her. For instance, if you haven’t been able to spend much time with your child lately because of work obligations, etc., surprise him or her with a trip to the movies to see a movie he or she has been dying to see. Or, if your child likes to play basketball, grab a ball, and challenge him or her to a basketball faceoff. If possible, try to plan something that both of you will enjoy. And, if you can, try to plan a different activity each week.
If you can’t plan specific activities with your child, ask him or her to run errands with you or help you cook in the evening. More than likely your child misses you, and will relish at the chance to spend more time with you, regardless of what you do together. This is especially true of younger children, however teenagers may disagree (they are in the autonomy stage of development). If your child or teen sulks at the mention of helping you cook or run errands, do not force him or her; rather ask him or her about his or her day. Your child may appear disinterested, but in reality he or she will appreciate the attention. The point of this activity is to spend quality time with your child, and to be accessible to that child when he or she needs you. If your child knows that he or she can depend on you, your relationship with him or her will improve.
Communicate - You have probably heard this a million times, but it works. In order to make any relationship work both individuals must know how to effectively communicate with each other. The parent-child relationship is no different. More specifically, the distance and disconnect between you and your child will widen, if you do not have healthy communication. It is important to start practicing these skills as soon as your “bundle of joy” arrives. Pay attention to your child when he or she shares things with you, even if he or she is a toddler crying because he or she wants to be changed. In both cases, your child is trying to communicate with you.
So, ask your child open-ended questions about his or her day, needs, wants, beliefs, opinions, fears, pet peeves, dreams, and desires, and listen to what he or she has to say. For instance, ask your child, “What did you do at school today?” Or, “Can you tell me about your day?” Also, ask him or her about life in general. For instance, ask your child, “Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years?” Or, “What is the thing you fear most in life?” Ask your child open-ended questions on a daily basis, and take advantage of the times when you can chat with each other for a few minutes (i.e. on the way to school, as you cook, while he or she is completing homework, or in between commercial breaks).
Be a Role Model
Yes, one of the best ways to improve your relationship with your child is to be a good role model. In other words, model the attitude and behaviors that you want your child to exhibit. Children, of all ages, mimic their parents’ behaviors, so if you curse like a sailor and drink excessively, there is a good chance your child will eventually do the same. Your “bad” behaviors can also cause your child to turn further away from you.
You don’t want your child to be angry, ashamed, and/or embarrassed of you, do you? Of course not! So, to prevent your child from developing resentment towards you, you will need to be on your “best” behavior at all times. You will also need to take a positive approach to solving issues, and interacting with other people. Why? Well, because your child will pick up on your negativity, regardless of whether he or she is in your presence or not. Model healthy behaviors and keep a positive attitude, and you and your child will have a more uplifting parent-child relationship.
Love Your Child Unconditionally
You can improve your relationship with your child by loving him or her unconditionally. Always show your child how much you love him or her – even when he or she “messes up.” Children need to know that their parents love them all of the time, not just when they are making good grades or behaving like you and others think they should. They should feel safe enough to make mistakes, and learn from them.
If you are constantly belittling and criticizing your child, he or she will become hostile towards you. He or she will also turn further away from you. And, unfortunately, research suggests that children tend to believe what others, especially their parents, say about them. In other words, over time, children fall victim to self-fulfilling prophesies like: “You will never be any good,” “You are stupid” and “You are a failure.” Make sure your child knows that you love him or her unconditionally, and that you will be there for him or her, regardless of the situation or outcome.
- Dr. R. Y. Langham
Brainy Quotes. (2015). Parent quotes. Retrieved from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/parent.html
Chapman, G. (2015). Love language profile for children. The 5 Love Languages. Retrieved from http://www.5lovelanguages.com/resources/books/
Dr. Jeremy Jewell. (2015). How to improve your relationship with your child. Retrieved from http://www.siue.edu/~jejewel/dr_jeremy_jewells_website_008._jeremy_jewells_homepage.html