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Navigating Parenthood: Improving Parent-Child Relationships

Navigating Parenthood: Improving Parent-Child Relationships

Post Series: Building The Foundation

The parent-child relationship is a very special one. Nobody likes to say it, but parenthood is hard! What about navigating this lifetime journey? Also, not just providing, teaching, and scolding your children but most importantly, being their friend, is a task you have to learn on the job.

It’s not even like there’s a school to go to learn how to do it, but everyone expects you to get it right immediately. Just like every other relationship, the relationship between a parent and their child requires a lot of intentionality and hard work. 

There is no one-way approach to parenthood. The struggle for a sweet and strong relationship between parents and children usually starts when a child is transitioning from a particular phase of their life to another i.e. from childhood to adolescence and from adolescence to adulthood. Hence, it is important that as a parent, you do not become passive along the line due to work or other pressures of life, your relationship with your child should be of utmost importance to you.

There are lots of ways by which you can improve your relationship with your child but before we delve into that, let us understand the problems, types, effects, and factors affecting a strong parent-child relationship.

Types of Parent-Child Relationship

A lot of factors contribute to how people grow up to become parents and the type of relationship they form with their children. There are four basic types of parent-child relationships;

  1. Secure relationship:

    This type of relationship is characterized by love, trust, and dependability. A child knows that he can rely on his parents for any of his needs.

  2. Avoidant relationship:

    Due to the inconsistency of the parent’s response to the child’s needs, a child in this type of relationship tends to behave independently without expecting anything from the parent.

  3. Ambivalent relationship:

    this type of relationship is characterized by imbalance. A parent’s fluctuating response to the needs of the child results in the child learning to get what he wants, by taking notes of the behaviors that got his parent’s attention in the past and using them over and over.

  4. Disorganized relationship:

    Uncertainty rules this type of relationship whereby a child doesn’t know what to expect from his parents.

Of course, the best type of relationship you should work towards as a parent is the security relationship.

Problems & Factors Affecting Parent-Child Relationship

Some of the problems of parent-child relationships face includes;

  • Work-life balance
  • Parenting styles clashing with a child’s temperament/personality
  • Financial difficulties
  • Adolescent rebellion
  • High parental standards/expectations
  • Divorce or separation of parents
  • Family health issues
  • Neglect/rejection
  • Stepfamilies
  • Pre/postpartum depression, amongst others.

Effects of Poor Parent-Child Relationship

One of the most influential relationships is the one between parents and children. Thus if things are not going as well as they should, it could have really bad and negative effects most especially on the child. Some of the effects of poor parent-child relationship include;

The Way Out

Sometimes as a parent, you are unintentionally unable to build a solid and secure relationship with your child(ren). It even gets tougher as these children grow up but all hope is not lost. Here are some of the most important things you can do in order to have a thriving, solid, and secure relationship with your children.

  1. Communicate

    Talk to them, that is the only way you can get to know them and vice versa. It has also been said that the most important part of communication is listening. The process of communication is not complete without feedback, and you have to listen if you intend to give feedback. No matter the age of your children, make communication with them a priority.

  2. Teach

    Before interacting with society, children first learn from their parents. Do not neglect the aspect of teaching them. When they come to ask you about things that are confusing them, patiently and lovingly teach them about it. This would help build their trust and dependability in you as a parent.

  3. Play

    I’m You do not want to be the type of parent your children are scared of. Create time to play with them, go on picnics together, take them out on a family dinner, eat together. Do things with them, and be around them.

  4. Allow

    There is a different type of joy a child feels when they are able to help their parents one way or the other, they feel strong and reliable. It also helps build their self-confidence, so next time they offer their assistance to you, allow them.

  5. Don’t forget

    Little things like their favourite colours, birthdays, best cartoons, interests and giftings, school events, etc. Always squeeze it into your conversations with them, it says a lot to them about how much you care.

  6. Encourage

    To voice their opinions, to make decisions, to express their emotions whether it’s anger or excitement, to explore their interests and respect them.

  7. Read books

    It is your first time being a parent to this child(ren) and you weren’t born with an automatic manual on how to go about it, so read books on parenting, children’s behaviours, and any topic that increases your chances of doing better as a parent.

I cannot exhaust the many creative ways in which you can keep your relationship growing with your child(ren), but I must not forget to add this:

Apologize to them! Parents tend to get away with a lot of things, when you know that you have wronged them, do not ‘parent’ or bribe your way out of it, apologize and tell them you are sorry. You are also indirectly teaching them to take responsibility for their actions.


Parenting is the only job you get without needing experience, you learn on the job. That is why you cannot leave it to chance, you have to be intentional about making your relationship with your children work.

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