Dr. Rich Patterson

Creating Relationships with Kids

Relationships are key throughout our lives.  Our interactions include family, school, work, and others.  At most any time, something is out of sync and difficult for us.  We know the value of relationships for teaching, parenting, friends, coworkers and that making things happen often comes down to relationships.  Yet, research shows a full 40 percent of young people feel lonely.  If they 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 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 extracurricular investments that kids enjoy.  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 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, bring food, and maybe work with the moving of equipment at events.  When you are present as a volunteer, it shows the child that you care and enjoys what they enjoy.

The second point is to work with them on a project or play a game.  Be involved with the kids at their level.   Parents are naturally involved with their kids when the kids are young.  However, often it stops as they get older.  Take time to help them get better, 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.

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 purchase something for them.

Show your support for your kids’ activities by volunteering, being present, talking with them about the event, and being excited that they are involved.

The following steps include the second post in this series, click here, Creating Relationships with Kids – III – Dr. Rich Patterson (

The Pathway 2 Success has a compelling post on 10 Ways to Build Relationships with kids; here, 10 Ways to Build Relationships with Kids – The Pathway 2 Success.

Enjoy the time. It goes by very quickly.

Yours for Better Parenting,