Mom and Daughter in park

Building a Partnership with Your Child

August 29th, 2013

When I turned 50, my daughter turned 20. I realized then for the first time that if my daughter and I were lucky enough to have another 40 years together, 2/3 of our relationship would be adult-to-adult, not adult-to-child. Then I asked myself the question: what can be done in the first 1/3 of parent-child relationships to form a strong foundation for the next 2/3 of the relationship when it is adult-to-adult? The answer I arrived at: Being emotionally partnered with my daughter as a child—understanding and supporting her on a deep level—was the key to a strong bond for our adult years. Certainly setting appropriate limits on behavior are important, but the true bonding comes from being partnered with her concerning who she is deep inside and helping her with her thoughts, feelings, and dreams.

In partnering with your child around their feelings, it is important to reinforce the concept that your child is a great child, but your child may have made choices that were not good choices in expressing their feelings. You are addressing your child’s actions, not who your child is.  It is important to preserve your child’s self-esteem, while partnering and guiding your child in how to appropriately express their feelings.

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