Positive relationships between parents and children: why they’re important

Positive relationships between parents and children: why they’re important

Children learn and develop best when they have strong, loving, positive relationships with parents and other carers.

That’s because positive relationships with parents and carers 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.


You can build a positive relationship with your child by:

being in the moment with your child

spending quality time with your child

creating a caring environment of trust and respect.


Being in the moment is about tuning in and thinking about what’s going on with your child. It shows your child that you care about the things that matter to them, which is the basis for a strong relationship.


Here are some ideas for being in the moment with your child:

Show acceptance, let your child be, and try not to give directions all the time. If your child wants to pretend the building blocks are people, that’s OK. You don’t have to get your child to use them the ‘right’ way.

Notice what your child is doing and comment on or encourage it without judgment. For example, ‘Are the big blue blocks the shopkeepers? And is the little red block going shopping?’

Listen to your child and try to tune in to your child’s real feelings. For example, if your child is telling you a long story about lots of things that happened during the day, they might really be saying that they like the new teacher or that they’re in a good mood.

Stop and think about what your child’s behaviour is telling you. For example, if your teenage child is hanging around in the kitchen but not talking much, they might just want to be close to you. You could offer a hug or let them help with the cooking, without needing to talk.

Part of being in the moment with your child is giving your child opportunities to take the lead. For example:

Let your child lead play by watching your child and responding to what your child says or does. This is great for younger children.


Support your child’s ideas. For example, if your older child decides to plan a family meal, why not say yes?

When your child expresses an opinion, you could use the conversation as a way to learn more about your child’s thoughts and feelings, even if they’re different from yours.


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