Written by Karli Steenkamp
Relationships and families have changed over the years. We don’t necessarily have the traditional family life. Families can be parents living apart, parents living together or married. With all these different types of families, one thing is certain: a child needs a stable and healthy home. Every relationship you have, whether it is with family, a child or friend needs to be nurtured.
Strong relationships help kids grow into strong individuals who can concur the world. Kids look up to adults. They have no other point of reference on how relationships should be other than what they see from the people around them. A healthy relationship helps kids feel safe and secure and they are more likely to form healthy relationships later in life.
What is a healthy relationship?
A healthy relationship between two parents is very important. It doesn’t matter what the living arrangements are. How you react towards your partner or co-parent teaches your child how people should treat each other. Having mutual respect for one another shows kids can be accepted for who they are and that it is okay to make mistakes. A healthy relationship is where you feel safe and secure.
Why are healthy relationships so important?
Healthy relationships teach kids how to behave. It builds self-confidence and improves their overall health, physically and emotionally. Kids are very sensitive to what people are feeling. If you are unhappy or depressed, it can reflect onto your child. They can portray these negative feelings in their relationships with other people or their schoolwork. If parents don’t get along, kids might see this as a gap to try and play parents up against one another to get something they want.
Not only is a healthy relationship important between you and your partner, but also between you and your child. It is important to give a child lots of attention because they thrive on it.
If a child lives in a home where both parents are constantly unhappy and fighting, it can have lasting effects on them and it will stay with them forever. Kids learn through what they see. It is not always the answer to stay together because of kids. Two happy relationships with two parents are better than one bad relationship with parents staying together.
How to maintain a healthy relationship?
It is very important to remember to take care of yourself. Taking a nice hot bath or grabbing a coffee with a friend is essential for your wellbeing.
It takes effort to make a relationship work. Parents can get caught up in trying to raise kids that they forget about taking care of each other. Bring date nights back and little surprises for each other!
Communication and respect are crucial elements of healthy relationships. If there is no respect or communication, a relationship will fall apart. Communicating isn’t only about talking, it’s listening as well. Listen to what your partner says and talk about things that bother you or things that you feel as parents are doing right. Balance family and one-on-one time.
We live in a society where technology can take over if we allow it. Make sure that technology time is limited to everyone.
Conflict is a sensitive issue. It is important for kids to see parents disagree and resolve the problem, so that they can see that every time you and your partner have a fight, the outcome will be positive. Disagreements are healthy for kids to see how conflict can be solved. However, choose your battles. Some disagreements are better left when kids are not around.
Good and healthy relationships can help kids lead a longer, happy life. It is good for their overall health. It doesn’t matter what the child’s circumstances are, they have the right to a happy, safe home. They need to see different relationships and how to build upon them in a positive way. The only way they can see that is through their parents who they constantly look up to.
The Nation’s Health
Kids Help Phone
University of Minnesota – Taking charge of your Health and Wellbeing