The importance of positive relationships in a young person’s life can never be overstated.  Through warm, supportive, and trusting relationships with adults—from parents and caregivers to teachers and coaches—kids gain the inner strength they need to overcome problems and to bounce back from life’s challenges.  What’s more, caring, consistent relationships offer the structure and support kids need to make lasting changes in their behavior.  When a child perceives that the adults in his life are truly invested in his well-being and interested in his experiences, he is more willing to talk about what is going on in his life and more likely to be open to adult feedback.

The good news when it comes to nurturing positive relationships with young people, is that the most meaningful connections adults make with kids are usually based on the simplest of gestures.  A proud smile, a word of reassurance, a bit of your undivided attention, a thoughtful response, an opportunity to practice a new skill, a hug just when it is needed most; all of these supportive behaviors are at once free and priceless.  Each of them communicates to a young person that they have worth and value.  Every kindness builds the relationship between the adult and child.

If building positive relationships between adults and kids is so fundamentally simple, why do so many young people feel alienated, isolated and alone?

Please check out the full post here, on Psychology Today.


Check out Signe’s newest book, Parenting the Challenging Child, due out on or about March 1.  Pre-order today!