When it comes to building a healthy relationship with your child, all parents have the best of intentions. But sometimes we are plagued by self-doubt, anxiety, depression, a lack of knowledge or overwhelming financial demands, just to name a few. Our babies and children need a relationship they can trust, where they feel they are listened to and appropriately responded to. This sounds obvious but in reality, it is often harder than it seems.

There are six tips which can support building a safe and secure relationship with your child:

  1. Learning to read and understand your baby’s cues – books and advice will tell you that when a child is tired they will rub their eyes, pull their ears, arch their back and cry. Whilst this is true, your child will also have their own unique set of cues and their own way of trying to tell you what’s going on for them; after all – they are individuals with their own personalities. Being able to recognise your child’s unique cues means you will be able to respond appropriately to them.
  2. Looking after yourself – what’s most important too your children are parents that can respond to their needs. In order to be able to respond appropriately to someone else’s needs we need to be happy and healthy ourselves. Try something relaxing (like sleeping, reading, having a bath) or maybe something more energetic (like having a laugh with a friend, going for a run, having sex).
  3. Talk, laugh, play with your child  – your child learns so much through their interactions with you and the other key people in their lives. It’s easy to be distracted by household chores, text messages, Facebook and all the other things that our demand attention but your child will know when you are physically and emotionally present and when you are distracted.
  4. Respond to your child’s needs, not their behaviours.  Cooper, Hoffman, Marvin and Powell consider this a core principal in children developing secure attachment relationships with their parents. When your child behaves in a particular way they are trying to tell you something.
  5. Share the responsibility. If you have a two parent family – let the other parent have a go too! You know they want to. Sometimes we get so caught up in things having to be done a particular way. But real life isn’t like that and your children need to develop a relationship with both of you.
  6. Good enough is OK –none of us are perfect!  Remember that we don’t have to get everything right all the time. Our children also learn important things from the times we get it wrong. They learn to tolerate frustration and (hopefully) how to repair relationship ruptures.

These tips are just tips, and often further support is required. We have a dedicated intake team to answer any questions you have about therapy. You can chat with our team in real-time online or give them a call on (03) 9067 8810. Gabriel, Yasmin, Amy and Lexie would love to help you with your journey.

Books we recommend:

Australian Authors

  • The Motherhood: Australian Women Share What They Wish They’d Known About Life with a Newborn by Jamila Rizvi
  • The Baby Bible: A Guide to Taking Care of Your Bump, Your Baby and Yourself by Bec Judd
  • The First Six Weeks: The Tried-and-Tested Guide that Shows you how to have a Happy, Healthy, Sleeping Baby by Midwife Cath

View the related Inside VCPS podcast here:

Episode 9 – Perinatal Health

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