Parent & Child Relationships


Positive behaviour

Positive boundaries are about teaching children how to behave as well as helping them understand the consequences of their behaviour. 

By creating boundaries when our children are young, we provide them with the opportunity of understanding our values as well as what is expected of them within the family, school, and the wider community. Boundaries are not about punishment but a way to teach children what is right and wrong whilst creating a secure place from which to experiment and learn about life.

If boundaries have not been part of a child’s life from the start they can still be implemented. It is important that a child’s parents and carers are consistent in their approach to boundaries as this creates greater security for your child and avoids confusion and mixed messages.  It is helpful if other important people in your child’s life can share and reinforce your view.


Warm relationships with parents are key to school children’s wellbeing. Listen and talk, do things together and give your child lots of positive attention.  

Positive attention is responding to children with warmth and interest. It helps children feel secure and valued. In fact, it’s key to children’s development.

Spending special time with your child can help build your relationship. Get ideas for fun activities that parents, children and families can do together.

Positive relationships between parents and children are key to child development. These relationships are about being in the moment, quality time and trust.

Community connections give children a sense of belonging. Help children build connections by doing things together with and for family, friends and community.

Positive relationships in families help children feel secure and loved. Here’s how to build relationships with quality time, communication, teamwork and more.


This is perhaps the greatest gift we can give a child. It shows the child the love and respect you have for them and teaches them from a young age that what they say and think is important to you. It also teaches them to behave this way towards others. This helps create a confident child who is valued and values others.


Most of us have resorted to shouting from time to time, but usually when voices are raised so are emotions and none of you can hear each other. If there is shouting, it is important to:

  • back off and create some space and calm down
  • discuss the situation again when both parties are calm
  • negotiate, if possible, if negotiation is out of the question, then be quietly assertive and explain your reasons


Physical Discipline

Smacking looks like it works because children stop what they’re doing when they get a smack. But smacking isn’t a good choice for discipline. That’s because it doesn’t help children learn about self-control or appropriate behaviour.

As a form of punishment, smacking has 3 other big drawbacks.

First, there’s a risk that smacking might hurt your child.

Second, it can give children the message that smacking or hitting other people is an OK way to deal with strong feelings.

Third, physical punishment like smacking can lead to longer-term problems in children’s health and development. Children who are smacked can be more aggressive than children who aren’t smacked. They’re more likely to have challenging behaviour, anxiety or depression.


Strategies that may help

  • Plenty of positive attention: Praising positive behaviour by being specific and ignoring minor naughtiness will encourage a child to seek positive attention.
  • Star charts and rewards: Help teach your child the concept of delayed gratification. Your child learns that good behaviour can have positive consequences.
  • Explain very clearly the reason and when it is over you both forget and move forwards.  Mean what you say: Be firm when no absolutely means no. You can listen and acknowledge your child’s view but sometimes you must be the adult. Remember: you are the child’s parent or family member, not their friend.
  • Be a good role model: Children learn by example. You can’t expect them to tidy up their toys if you leave your stuff strewn around.
  • Give choices: Parent or adult carer: “I see you have quite a bit of homework tonight. How about having something to eat and then you can decide to get started on the homework and have a break later? Or would you prefer to have the break now and then do your homework?”
  • Choose your battles: As your child gets older it may well be more sensible to steer away from the tidy room issue and concentrate on the more important issues like safety.


positive-parenting.pdf .pdf