Dr. Rich Patterson

Creating Relationships with Kids – II

We know that relationships with kids matter, but knowing that and trying once in a while is not enough.  We must learn how kids interact with others, including significant adults, to foster those relationships.  I want to refer to Search Institute’s Developmental Relationships Framework (  Element one of Search Institute’s framework is Express Care (  How do we express that we care for a friend as an adult?

We might call them during the day to see how things are going.  We could stop by their desk or maybe have lunch with them.  But most importantly, to get even to that point, we listen to them.  We hear them through when they express their crazy ideas; we support them positively.  It is the same with our kids.  When they speak an idea that seems to need some additional work, you can say, ‘How can we tweak that a bit to make it work?’  Rather than saying, that is crazy; you can’t do that, that won’t work.

This process helps create trust with the person because they feel safe with you.  They can be themselves and say what they are feeling.

Kids receive enough put-downs and negative talk from their friends, and their confidence is already on shaky ground for the most part.  They need someone they can talk with and say everything they are thinking without judgment.  By being that person, you can count on you help them to think through their vague ideas.  You show the person that you like taking time with them, that they matter to you and that they can come to you whenever they feel like it.  That is a good relationship–right?

We would all like to have someone who is there for us.  By being gentle with kids and helping them with their thoughts without being judgmental, we help them to build confidence in themselves.  Then when you need them to come to you and get some help, they are a lot more likely to do so because the relationship is already there.  I hope that you will continue to Part III of this series.

Part III of this series is linked here for you to read, Creating Relationships with Kids – III – Dr. Rich Patterson (

Part I, in case you missed it, is linked here for you, Creating Relationships With Kids – Dr. Rich Patterson (

For academic research approached Building Positive Relationships, read this fantastic article, handout5.pdf (

Enjoy the process; it is all we have anyway.

Yours for Better Parenting,