Childhood relationships shape who we are

A loving and nurturing relationship is essential for a child’s well-being and self-image, as childhood relationships affect all areas of a person’s life in their development and how they see the world. It’s how they learn about the world they live in, and how to express themselves. Whether it’s a cry, a question, or even a laugh, what they receive back is very important in how they process the information about the world and how they learn how to act. The feedback they get also shows them how to think, communicate, understand, how to behave, develop social skills, and even how they show emotions.

When you communicate or react in a way that echoes your child, you are, in essence, showing love and warmth. By responding to your child with a response of kindness, gentleness, or love, you’re helping them shape how they communicate, their behaviour, and even emotions. This gives your child a sense of safety and security and strengthens the body between you both. A stronger bond will provide them with more confidence to explore the world. They will feel safe knowing you’re there to encourage and support them, along with sharing these new experiences.

How children develop a sense of self through interaction with others

Your children are exposed to information from the moment they are born. This teaches them about who they are and their place in the world. Around their second birthday, your child will start developing a sense of self. They will begin to reflect on themselves.

Parents that react positively to their child’s development and achievements will help their child develop positive self-esteem. This will also lead to better outcomes from a social and academic perspective as the child will have a more positive perception of themselves.

Part of this social interaction starts when a parent promotes a child’s motivation to stay close to them, along with learning, guidance, security, along with warmth and affirmation in an intimate relationship.

Early childhood relationships, including childhood peer relationships, also affect a child’s sense of self. It teaches them about sharing, choosing roles, and narratives. This helps them develop a stronger sense of who they are through friendships outside the parent/child role.

How early childhood relationships with parents affect romantic relationships

Children are unable to comprehend how their relationship with their parents will affect their romantic ones as teens or adults. The connection between the child and the parent is complex. This can cause much confusion, which builds as your child tries to filter their friendships and even romantic relationships.

If a parent if more attentive and expressive, the child may prove to be more open in a relationship. The less emotionally-expressive a parent is, the chances the child will be more reserved in a relationship. This can affect communication along with even a struggle in physical touch like cuddling, hugs, or also holding hands.

Growing up in an abusive home can profoundly affect a child in future relationships as they’re more likely to have little to no emotional attachments in a relationship. This is usually a result due to abuse, neglect,  or loss of on their parents.

A child who has a healthy childhood relationship with their parents will likely see an increase in the likelihood of a healthy relationship on a romantic level.

How counselling can help you explore and work on these issues

The dynamic between parents and child changes in adulthood. Tension increases as both parties attempt to figure out how to stay close while maintaining new boundaries that arise. Outlining these expectations and how to work through them can be difficult, and voicing what each side wants from the other incorrectly can cause even more frustration. Even younger children may find themselves unable to communicate their wants and needs effectively.

Whether a child is young or has reached adulthood, counselling can have a positive effect on a parent/child relationship. It can help them understand what is happening and how to deal with the root causes of what is upsetting them. It will also teach you and your child new ways to communicate and how to interact with them, which will add more support to the long-term health of their social and emotional lives.

Positive communication early on in a child’s life will impact their development through their life. Through interactions with parents and even friends and family, amongst others, a child’s future relationships are shaped early on. How they react to others and also show affection starts from an early age.

Counselling can help many learn the tools need to communicate and respond appropriately to help shape a child’s development more positively. This helps a child navigate the world and form whom they become as an adult.

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