Implications for future relationships

Past relationships affect the child's expectations for future relationships. In many ways, the child creates guidelines for what to expect in future relationships. If children feel safe and secure with their parents or grandparents, they will expect the same from others.These children are the most likely to grow up with1

• good emotional health

• positive view of self

• interest and involvement in surroundings

• adaptability to surroundings

• independence and ability to rely on self

• pleasing interactions with others, including making and keeping friends

• participation

• doing things on own if needed

• better ability to resolve conflicts

Insecure relationships also shape what the child expects from future relationships. Such children may:2

• withdraw from the surroundings

• hesitate to get involved in activities and make friends

• lack curiosity

• become easily frustrated

• not ask for help when needed

• be angry and aggressive toward others

• have a negative view of self and others

For a child who develops these negative expectations, change can be hard. Caregivers who show patience and who respond with extra sensitivity, day after day, can help the child over time. Grandparents facing this type of situation may need to seek professional help and support.

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