There are some actions that, while well-intended, can drive a wedge between parents and their kids. In this article, we will share what these are and how parents can protect the long-term relationship with their kids by not engaging in these behaviors.
The first behavior that creates a barrier to building a relationship is oversharing. A 2016 study found that children believe their parents overshare information about them on social media. These children reported feeling embarrassed and frustrated towards their parents, especially when the children didn’t give their parents permission to share. Relationships are built on trust and your child will have difficulties trusting you with information or sharing experiences without that.
Helicopter parents beware
The next behavior parents should stop is being over-involved in all aspects of their child’s life. Although intentions may be good, doing everything for your child or making everything too easy may hold your child back. A 2016 study from Florida State University found that over-involved parenting has a negative impact on young adults’ mental health, including indirect effects on anxiety, depression, and life satisfaction. Coming to the rescue doesn’t let kids solve problems on their own and for younger kids, hinders brain development.
The next behavior parents should avoid is under-sharing about themselves. When your children come home, you may ask them questions about their day to try to make conversation. But, to have a successful conversation, both people must share.
Talk about your day, and share details like what you were most proud of achieving that day or what problem you may have, and how you plan to solve it.
By sharing yourself, you’re showing your child that you value them as a person and feel close enough to confide in them. You also strengthen your bond and show them they are important to you.
Lastly is punishment without respect. Even if your child has done something that requires you to discipline them, you can speak to them in a calm and loving manner. Yelling or using harsh punishment is less effective and harms the quality of your relationship with your child.
Treat each other with respect and courtesy like you would a friend or another adult. This will not only bring you closer together but set an example to your children of how to treat others, inside and outside your home. Ultimately this will make your home a more pleasant place to live and bring your family closer together.
Hiniker, A., Schoenebeck, S. Y., & Kientz, J. A. (2016, February 27). Not at the Dinner Table: Parents’ and Children’s Perspectives on Family Technology Rules.
Reed, K., Duncan, J.M., Lucier-Greer, M. et al. Helicopter Parenting and Emerging Adult Self-Efficacy: Implications for Mental and Physical Health. J Child Fam Stud 25, 3136–3149 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-016-0466-x