How To Have A Positive Parent-Child Relationship (Even When You Feel It’s the Biggest Challenge)

Parenting. Is there a right or wrong way to do it?  Billions throughout the world are parents. Regardless,  all parents have different mindsets on how to do their job. The parent-child relationship is a delicate, yet powerfully significant entity in life.

Clearly, making it a positive force is a challenge. Nonetheless, it’s something that is definitely attainable.

Notably, there are many social and psychological reports. They include explaining the impact of family demographics. Next, these include cultural and economic influences.  Additionally, there are plenty of written guidelines, all which aim to help to produce the “model child.”

Get Your Parent-Child Relationship Philosophy Straight

Realistically, there will be dramas.  And yes, children will answer back. Kids will also be non-compliant. So, how do parents stay grounded and consistent when faced with tough challenges? 

Ask yourself this question:  What makes the closest to an ideal parent?

All the while, parenting is accomplished in many different ways, yet, the answers are roughly the same:

  • Unconditional love
  • A positive role model
  • Advisor
  • Teaching children to be independent

Where Things Can Go Awry

In today’s society, a majority of parents forget the foundations. Ironically, many adults veer off this well-laid path by complicating the way they parent. Unfortunately, things like this may happen:

  • Reduced supervision in the home environment
  • Helicopter parents who hover over the child and rescue them from negative situations
  • Drill sergeant parents who shout instructions and control

Even With the Best Intentions…

Most parents come from the good place of love. Oftentimes, however, their personal traits and insecurities dictate how these influence their child’s behavior.  So then, how does one ensure a positive parent-child relationship while not letting personal issues affect on the optimism of the relationship?

Here are a couple of suggestions to boost the parent-child relationship:

  • Let the child fail. As frightening as this statement sounds, through failure, the child will learn. For example, guide and advise, but do not control.  Sometimes, children need to be able to make their own decisions. This is a skill imperative to their future.  In addition, this will help your relationship and fortify independence.

  • An example of this is homework. Helping (or doing)  the questions, or constantly reminding them to complete the task, may not be helpful. Finally, it may result in them not suffering a natural consequence. Overall, nothing here will be learned by the child. Not academics. Not consequences.


  • Quality time. Switch off the phones, TV, computers, and sit down to talk.  Dinner time is perfect. Obviously it’s not always possible because of activities and jobs.  Most importantly, then, carve out at least 15 minutes a day to have worthy conversation.  It doesn’t have to be about the meaning of life.  But, it could be as simple as asking how the day went. Or, it could even be sharing a joke.  All of these conversations open up lines of communication.  Children need reassurance that parents are always there to talk to. No matter how hectic life can get.

Have Rules and Set Boundaries

Starting from infancy, the parents set the rules. “Don’t touch that, it’s too hot.” “Don’t hit your brother!” “Don’t draw on the walls,” etc.  The list is endless. However, actions following broken rules have a huge validity on the parent-child relationship.

What set of consequences are in place? And, are they adhered to?  If there is threat of action due to a broken rule, correction must follow.  If not, children feel they can break rules again. Unfortunately, this can also lead to insecurities due to lack of boundaries.

Structure as a Necessity

Noteworthy, humans need structure and rules to flourish and feel secure. Numerous studies have shown this to be true. Structure can make interactions with children concrete.  Success in rule-making for the parent-child relationship follows these simple steps:

  • Set simple rules everyone understands.
  • Be consistent and don’t back down.
  • Don’t feel guilty. Most importantly, these rules are in place to ensure children’s safety.
  • Teach respect, and in turn, empathy.

Society as a Factor

Modern day society can be considered complex. For one, it may have us clambering to the top of a competitive pile. Also, it can be considered egocentric. “Shoot your neighbor, get out of my way, I’m first.”

In order to raise children as non-narcissistic little monsters, efforts may be better focused on education and character.

A Harvard study of 10,000 middle- and high-school students found that four out-of-five kids perceived that their parents valued achievement more than caring for others. That’s pretty sad.

Whether the students’ perception were accurate or not, the information is devastating. In the best of all worlds, parents should lead by example. We need to show compassion for others through our words and actions.

With communication, empathy, logic, rules and consistency, parents have the tools to raise their kids.  The child-rearing road may be full of potholes.  But, with a strong foundation, a good relationship will form and hopefully have longevity.  To read more about parent/child relationships, please check out




How to Help Kids Get Along and Resolve Conflict

Kids are going to have disagreements with other kids. How they handle the situation will predict whether they can find a resolution to the conflict.

Who’s in Charge?

Ultimately, it’s the kids who are in charge of their interactions. As parents, caretakers, and teachers, it’s up to us to offer skills and help guide them towards positive exchanges.

We’re not going to be there every time there’s a snag in a social setting. But when we are, it’s essential we use that particular experience as a learning opportunity. We can teach, model, remind, and reinforce.

On the “Playground”

The playground is the largest hotbed for conflict among kids. Whether they’re in elementary or middle school, the schoolyard tends to be the place we observe the best and the worst behaviors betweens peers. (High school-age students seem to experience more conflict off campus and on social media.)

In today’s climate of bullying/victimization, it can seem that our kids don’t stand a chance of becoming well socialized. This is simply untrue, although sometimes it may not feel that way.

You’re the one getting the call to pick up your child in the principal’s office. Or, your kid comes home crying because someone called her ugly, fat, dumb, etc. Or, your child is solemn, won’t communicate about his feelings, and you want to reach out. There are tools, as adults, that we can offer to kids to help avoid (or lessen) the above scenarios.

Campus supervisors, “yard duty guards”, or whoever is on the schoolyard supervising can be a key figure in assisting kids with positive socialization—reinforced with parental guidance as well.

Tattling Vs. Reporting

It’s important to discuss the difference between ”telling on someone” to get them in trouble versus informing an adult of an unsafe situation. We want them to differentiate so we can keep kids safe, but also to empower the students to work out their own conflicts. It’s a skill they’ll need for life.

Set Ground Rules

Once the conflict begins, the rules of engagement must be set.

YES – using words, walking away, or seeking aid from an adult.

NO – any form of physical contact, throwing objects, yelling or name-calling.

Problem-solving is a creative action. Kids will come up with solutions that we may not have thought of. But whatever works and seems fair for both parties is a good resolution.

When You Witness Good Behavior…

When you see a kid teaching another the rules of a sport, praise him. When you see a student asking another to join in, praise her. Feel free to comment, “I really like the way the two of you are getting along.” Model expressions like, “Great try!” “My turn, “Thanks for sharing.” Communicate with kids in positive scenarios.

When You Witness Unsavory Behavior…

Never shame a child. You can talk to a small group of kids, but don’t single one out in front of others. Always remain calm. An emotional response muddles your message. Use clear, concise words. “Others feel bad when you call them names,” “If you can’t play the game by the rules, then perhaps you need to find a different activity, “When you behave “that” way, you’re showing me you can’t handle the situation.”

Give the child the opportunity to redeem his/her “bad” behavior. Coming from a place of empathy (and wisdom) will go much farther with trust and encouragement of “good” behavior.

And, of course, consequences need to be established up front as well. Consistent praise, reminders, and follow through with consequences will leave no one confused. Keeping the peace is where it’s at.

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