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5 Ways to Build Healthy Relationships with Your Children

5 Ways to Build Healthy Relationships with Your Children

by David A. Morris, LCSW

Interviewee Elise M. Vandamia

New Directions Counseling Services child and family expert Elise M. Vandamia was interviewed by KDKA. They wanted expert advice on how to build and maintain a healthy relationship with parent’s children.

Here are 5 ways to get started:

  1. Your Parent Voice – your children will be subject to many messages while growing up. This includes teachers, coaches, media and social media. Do your best to have your voice heard and respected.
  2. Start Young – start now and start as young as possible. Build an environment that speaks to comfort and confidence.
  3. Be Flexible – life will throw you many changes, so look to be flexible. Parents can make adjustments without sacrificing the values they are attempting to instill in their children.

4. Allow for Mistakes – your children are going to make mistakes. You are going to make mistakes. Instead of doing what you can to avoid mistakes, allow mistakes. Then use it as a time to build resilience. Teach your children how to get back up and try again.

5. Be Fun and Serious – setting expectations are important. You will almost always be their guide. There will be times to take the “hat off” of serious and be fun; vice versa. Build your awareness of the difference.

Healthy Relationships with Children Take Time

Elise recommends starting your relationship with leading. Then as time goes on, closer to the middle school years, start to walk besides them. Finally, as they become more responsible and mature, be behind them as a source of support. Navigating the waters of parenthood can be especially tricky when it comes to social media. “The world has changed due to social media”, remarks Vandamia. It is important to be relatable to your tweens and teens.

Knowing the impact of social media is important.

Know social media shaming is real. It makes kids feel less important and under valued. It can make parents feel helpless and unempowered. Set limits that lead to independence and confidence in managing social media as they head towards adulthood. Be cautious of embarrassing your own children through this media form. Don’t draw extra attention to yourself using these platforms. Instead, focus on developing a “home base” culture, so your children can come back to you when you are most needed.

If you would like additional consultation on the best ways to create a home base, safe, yet flexible home please contact us at 724.934.3905.