PORTLAND -- We often turn to family and friends to help care for our children. It builds relationships and helps us cope with busy lives.Yet many parents have concerns when it comes to leaving their kids in the care of others, including close family members.

One Portland psychologist says honest and loving communication is the key to dealing with child care concerns.

When there really is that significant problem, the parent has to be able to voice and stand up for their boundaries and the safety of their children in a way that is respectful and easily heard by the other person, so that defenses don t get up, said Darci L. Walker, Psy.D.

Walker is a partner in a practice called Core Parenting, which specializes in helping parents, especially through tough situations.And some situations are tougher than others.

Walker encourages parents to not sweat the small stuff, like if grandparents hand out more cookies than parents want, or break bedtime rules by a little.

But bigger issues deserve your attention.From the caregiver not childproofing their home, to serious issues of substance abuse or dementia, there may be issues that must be resolved before children can be left in a loved one s care.

Walker hopes the conversation over how to help a caregiver through their problems, will build a better relationship for everyone.

The more openly you re able to talk about those issues generally with your loved ones, the easier it will be to incorporate concerns about your children.

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