The Evidence Portal

Building the parent-child relationship

Flexible activity

Improving the parent-child relationship is foundational to achieving the goal of reduction of harm to children.

How can it be implemented?

Programs are designed to support and build the relationship between parent and child, for example by building skills of maternal sensitivity. Activities between parent and child are incorporated into many of the programs to strengthen this relationship, for example, attendance of parents and children at playgroups, and receiving feedback and coaching using video-recorded parent-child interactions.

Who is the target group?

This flexible activity has been implemented with several different target groups. Key characteristics include:

  • First time mothers who are vulnerable, for example young mothers, single mothers, and families of low socioeconomic status
  • Families at risk using indicators such as education level, single parenthood, employment, history of abuse or neglect, potential for violence, and a history of mental illness, criminality, and drug abuse
  • Families with prior contact with child welfare services, or who have been reported for alleged child abuse or neglect
  • Families with a child showing signs of social behavioural problems; had difficulties with socio-emotional or cognitive development
  • Multigenerational migrant communities, low-income migrant families, and foster families
  • Low-income Chinese families in Hong Kong
  • Families with children with behavioural concerns who might be at risk for maltreatment

What programs conduct this activity?

Promoting First Relationships: PFR service providers are trained to observe and assess the quality of the relationship between the parent and child.

Relief Nursery Program: Home Visiting in which early childhood program teachers work to promote the parent/child relationship

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy: A central goal is to strengthen the parent-child bond through clinically based therapy.

Self-directed Triple P: Based on social learning principles, the purpose is to promote positive caring relationships between parents and children. Self-directed Triple P targets coercive family interactions known to contribute to the development and maintenance of children’s disruptive behaviour problems.

Child-Adult Relationship Enhancements in Primary Care: The theoretical foundation is derived from attachment and social learning theory.     

Further resources

Last updated:

17 Feb 2023

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