It takes time and effort to nurture the parent-child relationship. As Barbara Frazier, licensed social worker and editor of the online parent resource The Successful Parent, explains, the quality of the relationship between parents and their children is often threatened by long, non-traditional work hours and the influence of social media. Spending more quality time with your child, engaged in activity or conversation, can help mend a troubled relationship.
Research conducted by scholars at the Virginia Cooperative Extension shows that effective communication is essential in building a strong parent-child relationship. Effective communication involves both speaking and listening to what others have to say. Parents of young children can effectively communicate with their children by inquiring about events in their lives and using play activities to strengthen communication. Adolescents can benefit from instructional, yet empathetic, discussions with parents, and they may resist parental communication that is overly authoritarian.
Lack of Attention
A lack of attention can cause problems, including displays of acting-out behaviors, in the parent-child relationship, says child development assistant specialist Deborah Richardson at Oklahoma State University's Cooperative Extension. Acting out includes the demonstration of disruptive behaviors, such as violence toward others and defiance toward authority. Improved communication and quality time spent between you and your child can decrease these behaviors and enhance your relationship.
Parents may experience significant challenges when using discipline to redirect teenage misbehavior. The American Psychological Association agrees that adolescence can be a frustrating time for both parents and teens, as parents realize that old disciplinary strategies no longer work, and teens struggle to balance their need for independence alongside parental rules. Parents can use disciplinary strategies that teach their teens how to make wise choices as they become more independent, as opposed to simply utilizing strategies designed to keep teens compliant.
Lack of Mutual Respect
John Peterson, Psy.D., a family psychologist, believes that many parent-child relationships break down because of the power struggles that revolve around respect. Peterson believes that while many parents are fixated on the idea that their child automatically show respect to authority figures, some parents have not learned to treat their children with the same desired respect. A focus on cooperation, not compliance, is what Peterson suggests is a viable approach to establishing a mutually respectful relationship between parent and child.
- The Successful Parent: Repairing the Parent-child Relationship
- Virginia Cooperative Extension: Families First: Keys to Successful Family Functioning: Communication
- Oklahoma State University: Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service: Guiding Young Children Series: Why Children Misbehave
- Child Trends Fact Sheet: What Works for Acting Out (Externalizing) Behavior: Lessons From Experimental Evaluations of Social Interventions
- Good Therapy: Children Should Show Respect, As Should Parents
- American Psychological Association: Parenting: The Teen Years
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