Creative Child

Healing the Parent-Child Relationship in 6 Steps

by Rebecca Eanes


Life, as we all know, is not perfect. Relationships can be messy, and distance can grow between us for many different reasons. Though the fault may not entirely lie with us, it is our responsibility as the parent to heal the relationship and reconnect with our children. Here are some signs that your relationship is in need of a little repair work:

  • There is a communication breakdown. Your child isn’t confiding in you or be being open and honest in conversation.
  • Your child’s behavior has taken a turn for the worse.
  • You feel emotionally depleted after spending time with your child or you don’t enjoy spending time with your child like you used to.
  • Your child is being disrespectful toward you.
  • Your child is withdrawn.

If you feel distance has grown between you and your child, these steps to repair will help you get close once again.

Step 1: Think About Your Role in the Problem

The best first step is to take an honest assessment of the problem. What has caused this rift? What role did you play? Perhaps you’ve just been too busy, or maybe you haven’t taken good enough care of yourself and the stress has made you feel disconnected. Have you been short and snappy with your child? Have you been distracted?


Often times we get so focused on the problems our children are causing in the relationship that we fail to acknowledge our own part in the creation of the problem. If we, ourselves, are distant, distracted, grumpy, or stressed, it will take its toll on the relationship. Remember, the assessment isn’t meant to induce guilt; it’s simply about being honest about the things we need to improve so that we can make a plan to do so.

Step 2: Own Up to Your Mistakes and Make Amends

Now it’s time to have an honest conversation with your child. Admit your wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness. This isn’t the time to point out the fault of the child; this is all about you owning up to your end. This provides an example for your child to follow when he or she needs to make amends with you or someone else in the future. Leave blame behind, “I wouldn’t be so snappy if you’d just clean up your room” and instead offer a sincere apology for your actions such as “I’m really sorry I’ve been so snappy with you lately.”

Steps 3-6 on page 2...

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