Enjoying a Good Relationship with Your Son or Daughter (page 3)
Whether you are married, a single parent, a grandparent, or guardian, you can enjoy a good relationship with your child, pre-teen or teen. You can do this by being available for your son or daughter, showing that you love him or her, and building trust between you and your son or daughter.
It’s also important that you act like a parent. What do we mean by that? A lot of parents try to be their son or daughter’s friend. That’s not what he or she needs from you. He or she needs you to be a parent. Sometimes, your son or daughter may not like you, and he or she will get angry at you – like when you enforce the rules. (And let’s face it: this is a normal part of being a parent.) But he or she will love and respect you. Here are some more suggestions:
Being Available. Spend as much time as you can with your son or daughter. But even if you have to work a lot, maybe even more than one job to take care of your family, you can still be available to your son or daughter. You can show that you are available by listening when your son or daughter asks a question or wants to tell you about something that’s happened. And find things to do and places to go together.
It’s important to be involved in your child’s life. This is true for mothers and fathers – research shows that mothers and fathers make a big difference for children. Studies show that mothers and fathers are just as important for helping children be healthy and do well in school. It is important that mom and dad be involved even if they are not living together, and even if mom or dad is not living with the children.
Showing Your Love. When it comes to making your child, pre-teen or teen feel loved, what you do is as important as what you say. Your son or daughter needs to see that you care. Go to his or her school and after-school events, like plays or sporting events. Meet with your son or daughter’s teachers. Do something with your son or daughter that he or she likes to do – go to the mall, a ballgame, or a movie. Start a conversation with him or her. A good way is to just ask a question about what’s going on at school or other activities.
By being available for your son or daughter and showing your love, and treating him or her with respect you will build trust between the two of you.
Give your child hope for the future. Help him or her identify his or her goals. Let him or her know that you believe he or she can achieve these goals. Tell him or her that you will do whatever you can to help. And talk about what you hope for your son or daughter when it comes to building their own family. Tell them why marriage can be a happy and healthy relationship. Even if you are not married, you can teach your son or daughter why you hope he or she has a good marriage. To learn more about the benefits of marriage, visit Why is Marriage Important?
Give your pre-teen or teen responsibility. Teach him or her to respect themselves and other people. Your son or daughter must know what will happen if he or she makes bad choices.
Show respect to your son or daughter, and expect respect in return. Listen to your son or daughter. Treat their ideas and opinions seriously. Let your son or daughter know that you expect to be treated with respect because you are the parent.
Help your son or daughter to be emotionally and physically healthy. It’s important for pre-teens and teens to eat well and exercise. Encourage your son or daughter to exercise, whether that means playing on a basketball team or going for walks in the neighborhood. Have family meals together, when the television is off and the family is together around the table.
Encourage your son or daughter to get enough rest. As teenagers grow up, they need even more sleep than most adults. It might look like “laziness,” but it is really a need for sleep.
Reprinted with the permission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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