The Nature of Parent-Child Relationship

This paper presents a discussion on  parent-child relationship. An analysis of each kind of relationship based on various theories is presented.

Parent-child relationship has different components that are used to determine whether a strong or difficult relationship is observed. The components include communication between the parent and the child, monitoring of the child’s actions, involvement and attachment of both parties in the relationship (Perez et al., 2017). When talking of a parent-child relationship, the information being presented is not confined to single mothers. Rather, the relationship is formulated by both parents either biological or adaptive. A good or strong parent-child relationship is characterized by love, good communication and caring. It is without a doubt that a child cannot survive without the identified elements of a good relationship (Niec, Barnett, Prewett & Shanley, 2016). Some scholars have argued that the nature of the behavior acquired by a child is dependent on the nature of the parent-child relationship reported during the early stages of development. It is thus important to focus on building a strong parent-child relationship to support the growth and development of a child.

The theory by Hirschi (1996) gives a vivid explanation of the need to build a strong parent-child relationship. He points out that involvement, commitment and attachment to the child in the relationship will significantly influence the actions and behavior of the child (Estes et al., 2013). In situations where there is strong attachment, the child is likely to report positive outcomes regarding development. The social bonds created in a strong parent-child relationship prevent the disconnection of either of the parties from the relationship. As such, a strong relationship between the parent and the child is likely to guide the actions and behaviors of the child.

Attachment theory is one of the grounded theories that explain the nature of a parent-child relationship. According to the theory, attachment in a relationship serves the purpose of offering protection and safety to the child. Based on the attachment theory, it’s not a must that attachment be reciprocal. One can have an attachment with an individual without seeking for the same from the other party (Kim, Mayes, Feldman, Leckman & Swain, 2013). Attachment behavior includes responding to the child’s needs and offering maximum protection to the child from any form of harm. Attachment behaviors that can be vividly observed include seeking proximity with the parent when faced with any dangers or challenges. According to Giallo, Wood, Jellett & Porter (2013) an attachment is the main form of parent-relationship observed when dealing with children with certain health complications. The author asserts that attachment is different from other forms of relationship observed in parenting including disciplining, entertaining or teaching. The main purpose of attachment theory of parenting is to offer safety and protection of the child, as such, regarded as the most evident when dealing with children with health complications. The current study is based on the analysis of the parent-child relationship for children with disorders, as such, the nature of the relationships likely to be observed are explained from the perspective of the attachment theory.

Under attachment theory, there are four main type of parent-child relationship. The three types, secure, resistant and avoidant are regarded as organized types of attachment. On the other hand, there is one disorganized type of attachment observed between the parent and the child. Immediately a child is diagnosed with a certain condition (whether a chronic disease or disorder) the caregiver response at that particular moment will determine the nature of attachment developed between the caregiver and the child (Giallo, Wood, Jellett & Porter, 2013). Similarly, children tend to anticipate the specific responses made by the parent in response to their distress and stress. The daily interactions between the parent and the child lead to the three main patterns of response that are categorized as organized attachment patterns. When parents respond to the needs of the child sensitively and lovingly a positive relationship with the child is developed.

Also, the child is likely to seek for proximity to remain in contact with the parent. On the contrary, responding to the need of a child in an insensitive means is likely to build negative emotions that amplify the child’s distress (Perez et al., 2017). Offering resistant responses with the hope of that the marked distress cannot be missed is also insecure. The child will not only remain distressful but also risk the developing emotional and social maladjustment. The disorganized attachment between the parent and the child leads to the development of serious psychopathology. Also, children are more exposed to stress in disorganized attachment than the organized attachment.