Building Loving Relationships

Below are 10 tips to keep in mind to help you develop more loving and positive relationships with your children.

  1. Be affectionate with your children. Children first learn about relationships from their parents. Kids who are loved at home are able to share love and affection with others. Hugging, holding, and kissing them, with their consent, makes them feel secure and teaches them how to show love for others. Asking for consent before every day affectionate interactions with your child helps them learn that they can set boundaries and limits on when and how their bodies are touched and by whom. Affection helps you build and nurture your relationship with them.
  2. Continue to share your love with your children as they grow. It is natural for parents to give babies and toddlers a lot of physical attention, but it is also important to be affectionate with your older children. Spending time with them also lets them know you care about them.
  3. Tell your children that you love them. Just as adults like to hear how much they are loved, children also need affirmation that their parents cherish them. Never underestimate the impact that these words can have on your child.
  4. Appreciate the small, special moments in your daily lives. Think of routine tasks as opportunities to bond with your children. Sitting together while reading books can be a time to feel close with your kids. Let them know you’re interested in them by taking time to look at their school papers or asking about their activities. Share in their excitement as they make new discoveries, explore the outdoors or play in the mud!
  5. Teach your children how to maintain friendships. You can do this by setting an example in your own adult relationships. Be loving and respectful with your spouse or partner and friends. Your children will learn to act positively toward the important people in their lives.
  6. Listen and talk to your children on a regular basis. It is no secret that good communication helps relationships grow. Let your children know you care about their feelings and try to give them your full attention when they talk to you. When you listen to your children, they learn how to listen and how it shows respect to those who are talking.
  7. Try to spend time together as a family each week. Whether you’re enjoying a Sunday dinner, bike riding, or playing board games at home, have fun together.
  8. Spend some one-on-one time with each of your children on a regular basis. Let them know what makes them special to you. Each child is unique, and praising their distinct qualities enhances their sense of self-worth. When children feel valued, they are better able to handle problems and conflicts that come up in their lives.
  9. Find other ways to keep in touch if you live apart or do not see your children every day. If you are not physically with your children each day, connect with them by phone, text, email, or even letters. Let them know they’re an important part of your life.
  10. Set a positive tone when you interact with your kids. Being part of a loving family helps children feel good about themselves and gives them the confidence they need to interact socially with others.

Be affectionate with your children every day, and you’ll be rewarded by the smiles, hug, and love they’re sure to give you in return! Your relationship with your children will continue to grow, and the bonds between you will last as they mature and start new relationships of their own.

Resources

The UPMC Healthbeat blog features several articles by pediatric experts where you can learn more about building positive relationships with your children, including:

UPMC also offers several parenting workshops, both virtual and in-person in the Pittsburgh area. A list of current classes and workshops can be found on this page.