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Parent and Child-Improving Parent-Child Relations

Updated on November 7, 2019

10 Ways to Improve Parent and Child Relations

Replacing punishment and replacing rewards are two ways to improve parent and child relations. Three more ways include considering consequences, being firm, and avoiding conflicts.

Considering Consequences

In order to improve relations between parent and child, it is wise to incorporate the use of what I call consequential discipline. This technique is based on the idea that children do not willingly do what they believe is not good for them. For example, if a child touches a hot pan and gets burned, the next time he will not knowingly touch the hot pan.

This reasoning supposes that actions have a consequence. A parent can apply this kinowledge wisely once a child has enough reasoning to avoid the unpleasant results of his actions.

Similarly, why nag when your child is late coming inside for snack? If snack time is over when he finally arrives, he simply has no snack ( a consequence for being late). This natural consequence requires no nagging, no lecturing and no punishment.

Likewise, parents can set up logical consequences if the natural consequences are harmful. For example, if a child continually leaves his toys lying around, a parent can pick them up and store them away. The child quickly learns that he will lose his toys if he does not pick them up. A prudent parent will return the toys when he sees that the child is picking up his own toys. What a great feeling the parent and child have when the child takes responsibility for picking up his own toys.

Being Firm

Being firm is another way to improve parent and child relations. When a parent develops this skill and couples it with fairness and consistency, there is no need for stressed relations. When a parent uses firmness wisely, it decreases the need to dominate and it helps establish limits for the child.

Children are always trying to find their limits. If the limits are unclear, the results can be explosive and the parents' response can be one of outrage.

When children push the limits because the limits are unclear, parents are contributing to behavior problems especially when they over react.

Parents may ask, "how can I be firm without dominating?" A dominating parent imposes his own will on the child. Instead, the parent can, in advance, determine what he will do about certain unacceptable behaviors and then carry it out. For example, if children become unruly when visiting friends, mother can quietly say, "OK, Let's go home. I do not like this behavior."

Before long, the children realize that mom did not yell. Mom did not spank. Instead, she simply decided to leave rather than dominate her children.

Maintaining order in the family sometimes requires firmness and gentle pressure, but not domination. Children come to realize their limitations because of their parents' firm insistance.

In most cases, parents can give children a choice (which allows them to be responsible). For instance, if Johnny is teasing Susie and pestering her, mom can firmly say, "You may stop that or you may go to your room for five minutes." This way mom has not dominated and Johnny has made a choice. No yelling. No fussing. Improved parent and child relations.

Avoiding Conflict

Conflict involves the parent and the child. If one of them withdraws, the other cannot continue. I once had a student who would not do his work during class. I tried every way I knew to get him to do the work, including domination. Every day the same conflict ensued.

Finally, I realized that I was part of the conflict. I decided I would just tell him that he did not have to do his work and that instead, he could color. Amazingly, he actually wanted to do his work. No domination. No fuss. I just avoided the conflict. Every day, after that, he wanted to do his class work.

If parents learn to avoid conflict, in reasonable, non-threatening, non-dominating ways, parent and child relations will improve greatly. Just withdraw from conflict. Don't get involved in it.

What a wonderful thing to see resistance fall away from children once they see that there is no point in continuing a one sided battle!


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