The goal in a parent/child relationship is to enable children to eventually assume responsibility for themselves and make their own decisions based on expanded alternatives and approaches. The parent neither solves the child's problems nor flatters the child merely to make him/her feel better. The healthy relationship that benefits the child is a mutual learning process between the parent and the child. Its effectiveness depends on the following:
- The parent's skills in communicating his or her understanding of the child's feelings and their behaviors; understanding the child's developmental level and ability to reason and communicating at that level.
- The parent's ability to determine and clarify the child's problem; realizing that the child lacks the ability to explain his/her feelings accurately, and talking the child through the issue to fully understand what the problem is.
- The parent's ability to apply appropriate helping strategies in order to facilitate the child's self exploration (feelings and behavior options), self-understanding why s/he gets upset at someone), problem solving what are the options), and decision making (what option will bring the desired outcome), all of which lead to constructive action on the part of the child.
- The parent's ability to maintain the power in the relationship without abusing it i.e. Never ask the child's permission - "I'm going to take the toy away until after nap time OK honey?").
- The parent's ability to remain consistent so that the child knows exactly what to expect if s/he disobeys ("If you do this, the consequence will be that.").
- The parent's willingness to reproved with love so that the child learns that misbehavior is not linked to the parents love for him/her.