The Parent Child Connection

A photo of happy girl with arms around father. Young man is looking at daughter smiling. They are in casuals at home.

Connection Matters…

The connection that matters most to a child’s healthy development is the one she has with her parent(s) or primary caregiver.  Beginning with the first time you cuddle your little one through to his high school graduation, this bond allows a child to feel secure, loved and valued.

Along with providing the basics of life, as parents we must also understand our child as a unique individual navigating our complex world. Giving a vocabulary and voice to our children’s feelings is a vital part of parenting. The following are true for all children, but may be expressed in various ways.


What your child is saying to you:

What you can do:


“Show me that I matter to you.”

Be someone I can trust. Be dependable
Really pay attention when we are together. Listen
Make me feel known & valued. Believe in me
Show me you enjoy being with me. Be warm
Praise me for my efforts & achievements. Encourage

“Push me to keep getting better.”

Expect me to live up to my potential. Expect my best
Push me to go further. Stretch
Insist I take responsibility for my actions. Hold me accountable
Help me learn from mistakes & setbacks. Reflect on failures

“Help me complete tasks and achieve goals.”

Guide me through hard situations and systems. Navigate
Build my confidence to take charge of my life. Empower
Defend me when I need it. Advocate
Put in place limits that keep me on track. Set boundaries

“Treat me with respect and give me a say.

Take me seriously and treat me fairly. Respect me
Involve me in decisions that affect me. Include me
Work with me to solve problems and reach goals. Collaborate
Create opportunities for me to take action and lead. Let me lead

“Connect me with people and places that broaden my world.”

Inspire me to see possibilities for my future. Inspire
Expose me to new ideas, experiences, and places. Broaden horizons
 Introduce me to people who can help me develop & thrive…. Be a Connector for me!


From The Developmental Relationships Framework

by The Search Institute 

Smiling young hispanic woman posing with her baby


Creating a safe space where mutual respect and cooperation leads to a peaceful home can be a reality.

Newborn holds hand of his father.