Dr. Rich Patterson

Creating Relationships with Kids

Relationships are key throughout our lives.  We interact with others as a family, at school, at work and at times any one of them is out of sync and difficult for us.  We know the value of relationships for teaching, parenting, friends, coworkers and that making things really happen often comes down to relationships.  Yet it has been cited that 40 percent of young people feel lonely.  If they really matter how do we make them a top priority?  How do we let our kids know that we want to listen to them, hear them, and really make them feel special?  How do we invest time in making this happen?

Taking time to build relationships with kids will yield results in teaching, parenting, families, coaching and other extra curricular investments that kids enjoy being a part of.  But how do we actually “develop a relationship” with kids?  I would like to quickly touch on two areas to help improve our relationships with kids.  The first is to work with them to find what really interests them.  What catches their attention?  It might be a martial arts school, music, sports, something outdoors, or something in the arts like dance, painting, acting and the like.  Take time to participate with them.  Be willing to pay for equipment, lessons, and travel to events to show your support for them.  Learn their friends by being involved with their sports team.  Volunteer to be a driver, or to bring food, maybe to work with the moving of equipment at events.  All of this shows the child that you care, that you enjoy what they enjoy.

The second point is to work with them on a project or playing a game.  Be involved with them at their level.  This is common with our little ones like the two kids above, but it doesn’t have to stop as they get older.  Take time to help them get better, to watch them, swim with them.  I know a man who was frustrated with his child when he got into trouble and he said, “I just don’t understand it, I buy him everything.”  Buying kids things and being involved with them are very different.  In fact, most kids would tell you that they would rather have someone involved with them, watching them, enjoying a game with them than to have a parent just purchase something for them.

By showing an interest in, showing that you care, being there with them for even the smallest of events you will begin to build a relationship with your kids.

Enjoy the time . . . it goes by very quickly.