Being a parent can be one of the most difficult (and rewarding!) jobs around. It’s not something that you can be perfect at. Most parents are doing the best they can for their kids while juggling work, friends, managing a house, and lots more.
But it’s worth trying to improve the relationships you share with your child and other family members. Good family relationships are more than just enjoyable for their own sake. They:
- make children feel secure and loved, which helps their brains develop
- can help to overcome difficulties with children’s eating, sleeping, learning and behaviour.
Even for the busiest of parents, there are plenty of easy things you can do to develop good family relationships.
Spend quality time together
- Use time together, such as mealtimes, to talk and share a laugh.
- Have one-on-one chats with each family member to build and strengthen individual relationships.
- Do fun things together as a family on a regular basis.
- Make decisions together about what to do for special events such as birthdays.
Communicate in positive ways
- Talk about everything (even difficult things).
- Listen with full attention to each other.
- Make it OK to talk about feelings (even the bad ones).
- Encourage each other with praise rather than being critical.
- Work together to solve problems.
- Discipline with love, patience and understanding.
- Show appreciation, love and encouragement through words and affection.
All good relationships in life have the same thing in common – good basic communication. This can be applied to relationships in all cultures, religions and family structures.
Work together as a team
- Create family rules that apply to everyone.
- Include older children in decisions about things like family rules and family holidays.
- Share household chores.
- Think about everyone’s needs when planning family activities.
- Let children make some of their own decisions (as long as they’re still within the boundaries you’ve set and within their developmental levels).
Appreciate each other
- Take an interest in each other’s lives.
- Include everyone in a conversation when talking about the day’s events.
- Support each other in important events such as sports days and school concerts.