While both mother and father play a different role in the child’s life, each parent has equal opportunity to positively impact that child.
Following are seven tips to help you nurture a healthy parent-child relationship:
1. Truly Know Your Child
Amongst the 1,001 books about parenting, nothing works better than genuinely knowing your child. Of course, it’s not always easy to do, but making the effort to get to know them will declare your love more than anything else.
When you know what makes your child tick, then you will know how best to approach situations where a reprimand is needed.
2. Define Boundaries Before Enforcing Them
It’s easy to assume that, because your child is living in the same world as you, they know the same rules. This isn’t the case, though.
Children don’t exactly know the boundaries until parents set them. However, before you can enforce a boundary, like a rule or a requirement, you must be clear as to what those boundaries are.
Once they know the limits you’ve set, there’s little room for misunderstandings.
3. Be an Encourager Not Just Enforcer
When a toddler is learning to walk, parents typically encourage these wobbly step by meeting small challenges with great reward. The “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” are abundant during those first steps.
As your child gets older, the “first steps” don’t end. For their entire childhood and even throughout the teenage years, your child is taking “first steps.”
Remember to be the cheerleader on the sidelines and not solely the one enforcing all the rules. Your child, no matter what age, still needs your “ooh’s” and “ahh’s.”
4. Take Advantage of Teachable Moments
It’s not something that can be avoided, even as much as you wish. Your child will break your rules or choose to disobey you. When this does happen, you will probably discipline them. It might not be an enjoyable moment, but a necessary one.
The moment after is equally important. When the disciplining is finished, avoid ending the experience abruptly. Continue to foster an open relationship with your child by teaching them what went wrong. Not only does this show your child that you’re not just an enforcer of rules, but that you have their well-being at heart.
5. Be Sure Your Demands Are Age Appropriate
Although this may seem like an obvious tip, it’s often overlooked.
Punishing a child for something they aren’t able to perform yet is unwise. For instance, disciplining a toddler for a spoiled pull-up isn’t appropriate. Rather than catapulting the child into maturity, it will actually hinder growth.
6. Know the Difference Between Mistakes and Defiance
Kids are kids are kids. Sometimes they’re angels and sometimes they’re definitely notangels.
To nurture a healthy parent-child relationship, it’s important to know the motivation behind your child’s actions. For instance, spilling a glass at dinner is most likely notbecause your child wants to break the rules. Kids can simply be careless and clumsy. On the other hand, deliberate acts of defiance need a much different approach than a simple mistake.
7. Operate Out of Love
At the end of the day, your child just wants to know that you love them. No matter what discipline has to happen, nurturing a healthy parent-child relationship must be conducted out of love—pure and genuine love.
From newborn to graduation, each stage in your child’s life presents you with new challenges. While there is no playbook or manual to follow, these seven tips outline a good foundation for you.
If you’re feeling challenged or need support in this area of your life, please contact me. I’d be happy to talk with you and work out a strategy to navigate any unique parenting difficulties you might be facing.