Build Strong Bond With Child To Reduce Risky Behavior

Posted: August 11, 2012

Parenting is a hard work. This is especially true when talking about guiding children through their preteen and teen years.

Youth today face many difficult issues and often have to make some serious decisions at a young age like whether or not to do drugs or drink alcohol. Parents can help their youth avoid risky behaviors and make good decisions by building a close relationship with them. Below are some tips from North Carolina State University Extension for creating a strong bond with your child.

Build a strong relationship. Children who feel close to their parents are more likely to come to them for advice when faced with tough decisions. They are also more likely to follow their parents’ advice. Kids who feel close to their parents often have higher self-esteem and are better able to stand up to negative peer pressure.

Show your love. You can show your love in ways that are comfortable for both of you. Be affectionate. If your youth is shy about expressing affection, respect his need for some distance and find other ways to show that you care.

Take an interest in what your child is doing and who her friends are. Be there for your child. Go to her athletic events and science fairs. You can even exchange e-mail with your youth to show your interest in her activities. E-mail may feel like a safe way for kids to talk through tough issues with you.

Show your support in your youth’s successes and failures. Let him know you love him no matter what. Being there lets him know you care and may help him decide to make a wise choice when faced with a tough decision to “go with the crowd.”

Have fun together. Try to spend some quality “fun time” with your child each week, even if it is only 10 minutes listening to music or playing a board game together. Look for common interests with your youth and build on them. Show your child that she can have fun and relax with you!

Listen first; then ask questions. When your child talks to you, listen! Make sure you pay attention to what he is saying, and don’t put down his thoughts and beliefs. Show interest. Ask your youth about things that are important to him. Ask about his friends, his interest in music, or his favorite subject at school. However, don’t quiz your youth, or you might drive him away. Instead, ask for his opinions. You can even ask him for advice. But then be silent and listen.

To learn more about developing strong, positive relationships with your youth, register for the Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10-14. Strengthening Families is a seven week program designed to reduce adolescent substance abuse and other problematic behaviors in youth ages 10 – 14 years.

For more information or to register for this fun, family oriented program, call Penn State Extension at 570-963-6842. Space is limited so registration will be taken on a first come, first serve basis.