One of the greatest and most influential relationships that you will ever have is with your child. A relationship is defined as an emotional connection between two people, whether by marriage, blood, or emotion. The best way to build a meaningful relationship with your child is to form an emotional connect and gain a better understanding of him/her.

As a parent you will always be on the lookout for better ways to raise your child, building a strong relationship with your child is highly important for optimum levels of development. Creating a better relationship with your child will not only make discipline more effective, but will also make your home a much more positive environment to live in.

Below are some useful tips to build a relationship with your child:

Practice mutual respect.
Children are often very perceptive when it comes to feeling that they are being disrespected. To gain respect from your child, your must show respect. This means no shouting, name calling, cursing or otherwise talking to your child in ways that you would not want him or her to talk to you. If you practice mutual respect you notice a significant improvement in the relationship between you and your child, this will also teach them that by treating others with respect, they will gain respect.

Spend time with your child
Spending time with your child is one of the most effective ways of building a strong relationship. Whether you take your child to the park, swimming, or go for a picnic, the key is letting your child choose the activity, and just following along. You should remember that you are not there to correct them; the reason that your there is because you want to spend valuable time with them. Even if what you’re doing seems boring, try and find something positive to take from the experience and share with your child. You don’t have to love throwing a Frisbee in the park to enjoy spending time with your child.

Put yourself in your child’s shoes
Placing yourself in your child’s shoes will allow you to guess what they are experiencing or thinking. To deal with any issues that your child may be facing you will need to use an unbiased approach. Don’t forget that you were once a child, try and think back to how times were. Above all, you should place child’s feelings and needs above yours.

Celebrate their birthdays
Celebrating your child’s birthday is the perfect time to show him or her how much they mean to you. Whether you take them bowling with a group of friends, or invite his school class for a party, going the extra mile to ensure that your child has a great birthday will show how much you appreciate them.

Talk to your child
Communicating positively is the key to any good relationship, but remembering to regularly talk to your child isn’t always as straightforward as it may seem. Many parents think that by giving their child a string of commands such as “leave your brother alone” “put that back”, that they are speaking to their child regularly. The best way to talk to your child is to swap stories and discuss feelings, this will help you and your child strengthen your relationship and create a strong emotional connection.

Reserve any judgment
Although it is important to teach your child the correct values and morals, you should not judge your child in terms of adult behavior. A child that tells a lie out of embarrassment or shame is completely different to another that deliberately misleads you.

Be a positive parent
If you want to create a strong relationship with your child, you should take time to think about how you want your relationship to be. Would you like to spend more time and have more fun with your child? Would you like to nag or yell less often? Write a few notes on how you would like your relationship to be. When your child asks for something and you say “no” without thinking, is there another more positive way that you can react? Is it possible to redirect or distract your child? Can you get him/her busy doing an activity that they enjoy? A positive approach to parenting will have an invaluable effect on your relationship with your child.

This article by David at Pathway Care, an Independent Fostering Agency that provide high level foster care services throughout Wales and England.