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Healthy Relationships: Children and Families

Families are not necessarily those who are biologically related. Families can be made up of anyone a person considers to be their family! Strong, positive relationships help build trust, manage stress, and improve overall well-being. Children learn about relationships first from their families and can use this model to create healthy relationships outside of the family. Children need warmth, safety, boundaries, and conflict resolution skills for healthy development.

General Tips on Building Healthy Relationships for Parents

  • Try to spend regular quality time together as a whole family and with each child, even it is for a few minutes each day
  • Show affection (e.g., hugs, kisses, kind words, or a pat on the back)
  • Offer to help and support one another
  • Do fun things and laugh together
  • Engage in family rituals to build a sense of belonging such as family dinners, weekend walks, or games night
  • Try to listen, understand and respect each other’s feelings and differences
  • Teach and model problem-solving skills to children so they become more confident at resolving their own conflicts
  • Get support from family, friends, or professionals when you need help

Tips on Building Healthy Relationships for Parents

A Focus on Problem-Solving

Building and maintaining healthy relationships with children is not easy! All families have times where tempers flare, feelings get hurt, or misunderstandings occur – conflict is normal! How we resolve it is what matters.

Parents and caregivers can help children identify the problem and guide them through the problem solving process together.

When a problem arises, a parent may opt to try out the following 3-step technique:

  • (1) Empathy – Understand the child’s concern and emotions by asking questions and listening
  • (2) Define the Problem – Be direct and state the problem from your adult perspective
  • (3) Invitation – Invite your child to brainstorm possible solutions to the problem that addresses both parent and child concerns

* Read more about Collaborative Problem Solving Techniques from “The Explosive Child” book by Dr. Ross Greene

Want to learn more? Check out these book resources:

The Whole-Brian ChildParenting from the Inside OutHow to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will TalkParent Effectiveness Training - book

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