Topics on Parent-Child Relationships

The parent-child relationship can be a joy, but sometimes you need to work hard to reap its benefits.

The parent-child relationship is a complex dance of love and lesson teaching. As a parent, you must guide your child through the ups and downs of youth, helping him learn right and wrong and grow into the adult he will all-to-soon become. This relationship is as complex as it is important. There are a number of topics germane to this area that may prove helpful to understand and consider as you move through the process of child rearing.


For any relationship to blossom, communication is a must. Often, parents and children allow hectic lifestyles to eat away at their communication time. Doing this is a major mistake, as the parent-child relationship will suffer if you don’t put active effort into communicating regularly. Make communication a continued focus, setting aside time to talk to your child suggest Tawana Bandy, B.S. and Kristin Anderson Moore, Ph.D., for The most effective way to ensure daily communication is to commit to eating dinner together each evening. This set dinner date will allow you to catch up on each other’s lives.

Relationship Mending

When children are young, they depend upon you almost completely. This dependence results in the formation of a natural bond. As they age and become more self-sufficient, however, this bond commonly begins to dissolve. Common parent-child conflicts over hot-button topics like discipline and rule-setting can result in this bond evaporating even more rapidly. If your bond with your child has been damaged, you don’t have to resign yourself to giving up the closeness you once enjoyed. Though it will take a concerted effort on both your parts, you can rebuild this frayed tether. TV personality Dr. Phil suggests that parents seeking to rebuild damaged relationships focus on forgiveness and communication, letting go of the past and committing to talking to each other, even if they things they are discussing are trivial.

Friend or Parent

While it may be tempting to allow your familiarity with your child to lead you to being a bit more BFF than parent, allowing the lines between parent and friend to blur is a major mistake, suggests directors of “Connective Parenting” Bonnie Harris. Being friendly with your child is fine, she reminds parents, but allowing your child to rule to roost will only lead to more conflict. Avoid some of the common behaviors of BFF parents, including: changing your demands to meet your child's wants, asking your child to keep secrets or trying to influence what your child likes. These behaviors, outlined by Bonnie Harris for the Christian Science Monitor, blur the lines and set your kid up for confusion.

Divorce Drama

Divorce will necessarily affect the family dynamic. If you have recently navigated a divorce, you will almost certainly feel an impact on your relationship with your child. To lessen the degree to which the divorce harms your relationship, be supportive of your child, maintaining an open stream of communication. Also, avoid saying anything negative about your former partner, as your child may internalize these comments, remind Nithyakala Karuppaswamy and Judith A. Myers-Walls, Ph.D. of Purdue University. By remaining sensitive to your child’s needs during this difficult time, you can establish a new normal more rapidly.