Interacting with others – Positive involvement

All children need their parents to take an active interest in their daily lives. Parents can do this in a positive way through caring about what a child does and likes, by listening, by joining in their games, daily routines and hobbies, and by helping with homework. It is good for a child to know his/her parents are aware of his/her mood, feelings, experiences and worries. Through the parents’ empathy and understanding the child feels seen and taken into consideration and is thus given a basic premise to establish positive relations with other people. Positive involvement also implies being able to see the child’s point of view, follow the child’s initiative, invite the child to cooperate, protect the child, set age-appropriate limits, and create a good emotional climate for play and learning.

Through positive involvement parents and children become more closely attached to each other. This contributes to the parents’ role as a safe base the child can return to for support, closeness, comfort or encouragement. When child and parent develop a good relationship they share happiness and grief and their love for each other is strengthened. 


When life seems challenging, it is harder for any of us to maintain a positive involvement with a child. Children with behavioral problems can often develop a negative relationship to their parents. Parents, for their part, may experience that it is hard to be close to and active in the child’s life when his or her troubles are big - and they may direct their attention more and more towards the child’s negative behavior. If the parents are unable to actively involve themselves in the child’s world, this negative development will continue. The distance between child and parent will often increase, the experience of closeness may disappear, and the child may no longer look to its parents for support. Under these circumstances both parents and child will benefit from seeking professional help.


The most important goal in PMTO is to reverse these negative trends - to restore parent/child closeness and to strengthen psychological ties. All the parenting skills we work with in PMTO are aimed at building up this positive involvement.

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