What is the Parent-Child Relationship?
A parent-child relationship lays the foundation for the child’s personality, traits, values and overall behaviour.
It nurtures the physical, emotional, and social development of the child. It’s a unique bond that nurtures the holistic growth and development of a child.
There’s no formula for getting your parent-child relationship right, and there’ll be times when it’s hard to relate to your child the way you want to. But if you keep working on improving your relationship over time, your child will feel loved and secure.
Studies suggest that a healthy parent-child relationship leads to positive outcomes for the children and the family.
Why are parent-child relationships important?
Parenting is the most gratifying job that we will ever have, but it’s not without its positives, negatives and challenges. In today’s’ world, most of the families live a stressful life and with various work and family pressures.
Every parent wants to do its best for their child and give him/her all the things which they may have been deprived of during their living. They want to give all the happiness to their child. Children’s most important early and close relationships are with parents. A strong and positive parent-child relationship can help lead to better outcomes for children.
In India, the parents do anything to make their children happy. They even go out their way even if that is beyond their capacity in terms of finance. The parent-child relationship is such that emotionally they are attached to each other throughout their life and protect them from the world and the situation around them as they are being more experienced.
Positive parent-child relationships help children learn about the world – whether the world is safe and secure, whether they’re loved, who loves them, what happens when they cry, laugh or make a face, and much more.
Loving parents create loving children. The relationship with your children and how attached you are to them indicates how the child is going to grow as an adult and his/her behaviour, attitude towards people and life in the future. It also affects the strength of their social, physical, mental and emotional health.
Here are a few positive outcomes of a healthy Parent-Child relationship:
- Children who have a healthy relationship with their parents stand a chance of developing positive, happy and content relationships with others in their life including friendships with peers.
- They are better equipped and trained at regulating their emotions when faced with stress and difficult situations.
- It helps to promote a child’s cognitive, emotional and social development. It also helps children to exhibit positive social behaviours.
- A healthy and positive relationship with their children’s day to day life helps to lay a strong foundation and ensure that their children perform better socially and academically.
- Children who have a secure and positive relationship with their parents gain strong problem-solving skills
- It also helps their children to learn essential skills and values that set them on the path for future success.
The relationship between parents and children not only needs to be strong but also flexible because you can’t behave with a ten-year-old in the same way you behave with a three-year-old. The parents must behave and tackle their children differently at their different ages. The needs and emotional needs differ and change over the period of their growth from a mere small child to a teenage adult.
Types of Parent-Child Relationships
The type of relationship may depend on your upbringing style. A parent-child relationship is broadly categorized into the following:
1. Secure Relationship:
In these types of relations children feel safe with their parents and or carers. They believe that their needs will be taken care of.
Children who enjoy a secure relationship with their parents are more likely to be independent and self-confident later in their life. They know how to interact socially and are better prepared to regulate and deal with their emotions.
2. Avoidance relationship:
In this relationship, children feel insecure because the parents are not aware of their needs.
They are forced to become independent and to explore and fulfill their needs themselves. This can result in developmental and adjustment problems, as well as behavioral issues such as biting, pushing and hitting in the children. They will have poor social skills (e.g., withdrawal or aggression), and tend to be disobedient and impulsive.
3. Ambitious Relationship:
In this relationship, the child’s needs are sometimes fulfilled and sometimes not.
Parents do respond to them but inconsistently. They will respond to the needs of their children after they get free from their busy work. These children who grow in tis type of relationship tend to be more emotional.
4. Unorganized Relationship:
In this relationship, the parents ignore the needs of the children. The children don’t expect anything from their parents. In this type of relationships, it is likely that one or both old suffers from psychological conditions. It affects the children’s behaviour, attitude. They become difficult to understand.
How to strengthen Parent-Child Relationship?
As parents we always crave those close moments with our children that make our hearts melt and happy. A high-quality parent child relationship is important for healthy development.
Many researchers say that we need five positive interactions to every negative interaction to keep any relationship healthy. And since we spend so much time guiding them, correcting, reminding, scolding, criticizing, nagging, and yelling — it’s important to make sure we spend five times as much time in positive connection.
But we’re only human. There are days when all we can do is meet our children’s most basic needs. So, given that parenting is the toughest job on earth — and we often do it in our spare time, after being separated all day — the only way to keep a strong bond with our children is be responsive, trustworthy, and loving.
Following are some tips for strengthening parent-child relationship:
- Start from when the child is born:
The relationship between mother and child is build right from the womb while the father-child bond begins the moment the baby is born. Studies suggest that fathers who were involved with the child in the early days had greater bonding later in life.
- Invest your time, effort and be available:
The more time and effort you put into your relationship, the stronger your bond will turn out to be. Make time to talk to your child without any distractions, even 10 minutes a day can make a big difference in establishing good communication habits.
Be responsive to your child’s physical and emotional needs. Teens need privacy, while younger kids need parental intervention and interaction. It is important to be attentive, loving and seeing things from the child’s perspective.
- Listen and Empathise:
Connection starts with listening. Try and see things from your child’s perspective and foster mutual respect. Help your children express their emotions. This may not be easy when you are a first-time parent, but a little practice helps. Seeing things from your child’s perspective will help you understand the reasons for their cranky behavior.
Communication with your child play a very important role in strengthening the relationship. It has to be fair, firm, and friendly. Be clear about your expectations, what they can expect from you and any ground rules and consequences for not following them. As a parent, you need to handle it maturely and calmly.
- Involve in their studies, friends, and activities:
Parents who are involved in their child’s life have strong parent child relationships. Try to learn what’s happening with them, understand their academics, and try to know their friends. Stay in regular touch with your child’s teachers or volunteer at school if you have leisure time. This builds a stronger relationship.
Listening passively to your child when he/she speaks to you while doing your work. Stop whatever it is that you are doing and listen to them. Give them your full attention. Remember to maintain eye contact while talking to them.
- Make family time important:
Play is so important for children’s development. Young children can develop many skills through the power of play. It can also help to develop children’s language skills, emotions, creativity and social skills.
Eating together as a family sets the stage for conversation. Have meals together and talk about your day over dinner. Discourage use of technology at the table and enjoy each other’s company. Also make it a regular practice to go to movies, events, or family outings. This helps in strengthening the parent child relationships.
- Trust and Respect your child:
Trust is the foundation of every relationship. Your child should be able to rely on you and feel secure.
Treat your children as individuals and acknowledge their opinions and beliefs. While you are responsible to a certain extent in forming beliefs and opinions, other extraneous factors also contribute to it.
Respect their views so that they respect you. However, do not trust your child blindly, but have your checks in place.
- Encourage your child:
Children need constant encouragement and motivation to build their confidence and self-esteem. Encourage your child when he/she does something good and worthful.
Don’t always criticize or correct them, they will feel that their actions or opinions are not valued. A word of encouragement will build their moral and instigate them to do better.
The bond between parents and a child is one of the strongest, most emotional and genuine bonds anyone can have in their lifetime. I am sure the above-mentioned tips and understanding the importance of the healthy and positive relationship between a parent and a child will help you all to continually nurture the relationship with your children and build be a responsive, trustworthy and loving relationship.