Parents Corner

Developing a Positive Relationship with your Child


Phil Nunn, an Australian psychologist, says that parenting is like having a rope around your waist. Parenting is all about knowing when to let the rope out and when to reel it in.

I take this metaphor a little bit further. The rope around your waist is the relationship you have with your child.
No rope = no relationship. Without a relationship there is no letting out and no reeling in. Your child is flailing about at the end of the rope without being hitched to something. That’s a dangerous and scary place for a child to be. In my experience most of these kids can look angry or overly independent.

Without a strong and positive parent-child relationship, your child will not listen to you and will not do as you ask. It really is that simple. Having a relationship with your child is the most important thing that you can do as a parent.

I reckon that building a relationship is about 80% of the parenting effort. So, if you are disciplining and punishing your children about 80% of the time, then think about taking an about-turn, and concentrate on the relationship instead, and see how that changes things.

So, how do you develop a positive relationship with your child?

Hugs, touch, care, unconditional love, attention, spending time with them, descriptive praise, nurture, listening to them when they talk, are relationship builders.

Things like put-downs, name calling, criticism, teasing, telling them that they are ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’, and swearing at your kids are relationship killers.

Dr Robyn Dolby also uses the rope metaphor to explain how parents relate to their children. She says that if your child is used to being out on the end of the rope most of the time, then you need to reel the rope IN very slowly.

The same can be said for children who have been kept too close and too controlled (over protected) or kids who experience anxiety. You need to let the rope OUT very slowly, so they don’t get scared.

Relationship. It is essential to growing strong, resilient, healthy, and happy humans.

Article Written + Submitted by

Narelle Smith (Family Worker)  Nepean Community + Neighbourhood Services

P: 47218520  E: FaceBook: Parenting in Penrith



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