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Solid Relationships – Building Rapport with Your Children

To create the emotional engagement that is such an important element of solid relationships with our children, we need to build rapport with them. Rapport gives us on-ramps into our children’s lives, creating a way to enter their world, know their concerns, share their successes, and “speak their language.” Rapport helps us understand our children’s feelings and ideas, leading to better communication and solid relationships.

Built on mutual trust and emotional comfort, rapport develops over time and must be nurtured. It is, however, well worth every minute that you—and your children—put into it. When children feel understood and supported, they feel safe and happy—at home and in themselves.

When we reach a solid level of rapport with our children, we create a win-win “partnership” in which we’re able to speak honestly to each other, with love and respect. We have to remember, though, that this goes both ways—as much as we want to be able to communicate honestly to them, we have to allow them to do the same with us. We build mutual respect as we enter their world, and allow them to enter ours.

Here are a few tips for building and maintaining rapport with your children:

  1. Know what they like, how they think, and how they feel about what’s happening in their lives. If you don’t know, ask. 
  2. Know what keeps them from getting what they truly want. If you don’t know, ask. 
  3. Try to imagine what they say to themselves, about themselves. 
  4. Speak the truth to them clearly, in a way they can hear it and understand it. 
  5. Have fun with them. 
  6. Treat them as equals. 
  7. Trust them. 
  8. Listen – really listen – to what your children say to you, and note their non-verbal communication as well. 
  9. And last, but not least—allow and encourage your children to do all of the above with you.

Positive support, a nurturing environment, and good communication are essential for strong relationships with your children. Parents who make an effort to build rapport with their children will not only strengthen their relationships, but also build their children’s feelings of acceptance and trust. This in turn builds their self-confidence, a vital ingredient in their overall happiness.

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