Of the many different relationships we form over the course of the life span, the relationship between parent and child is among the most important. A baby cries, a parent feeds him/her; a baby snuggles, a parent hugs him/her. Day after day, night after night, mothers and fathers feed, wash, dress, and hold their babies. Gradually, the baby begins to expect that his/her parent will care for him/her when he/she cries. Gradually, parents respond to and even anticipate their baby's needs. These elements form the basis for a developing relationship. When children move from infancy into toddlerhood, the parent-child relationship begins to change its focus. During infancy, the primary function of the parent-child relationship is nurturance, and much of the relationship revolves around the day-to-day demands of care giving: feeding, sleeping, toileting, bathing. The attachment relationship develops out of these day-to-day interactions. As youngsters begin to talk and become more mobile during the second and third years of life, however, parents usually attempt to shape their child's social behavior. In essence, parents become teachers as well as nurturers, providers of guidance as well as affection. As the child grows up, the parent-child relationship changes and it can take many shapes depending on the behavior of the parents. Some parents are warm and accepting. They try to see things from the child’s perspective. This attitude of parents greatly enhances the attachment and these gestures of parents greatly strengthen the parent-child relationship. Children respect their parents more and also listen to what they say. In contrast, some other parents tend to be aloof, rejecting and critical. This strains the parent-child relationship because every child needs his/her parents’ attention and time. This attitude of parents causes the child to respond in the same way. This causes intolerance and lack of respect. There is a third category of...
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