No matter our age, or where we are in life, relationships can be a tricky business. Whether we’re 38 and navigating battles with a work colleague, or five and can’t understand why Sophie won’t share - we’re up against it. We all have different and potentially clashing personalities, temperaments, and beliefs. The connections we make in life are pretty important though, as they can have a big impact on us, affecting our self-confidence and level of happiness.
Promoting positive relationships and encouraging our kids to be the social creatures they naturally are, often comes from how we conduct our own relationships. These lessons we pass on, however, may not always be as constructive as we like. But there are valuable lessons we can teach our children so they can maintain and care for their connections and relationships throughout life.
Communication Is Key
It may be the simplest lesson, but it can often be overlooked as we take communication for granted. With smartphones, on-demand TV, and constant connection with the online world, we can become inherently disconnected from those around us. Teaching our kids how to communicate and the importance of the way they interact is key. Our emotions and reactions can often take over when arguments erupt, but we need to help our children recognise that when we are reacting, we are not listening or communicating. Encouraging kids to listen, be respectful, and understanding is important for them to build solid relationships.
The message of #BeKind is something we are all heavily focused on over the last few years and it’s something we need to ensure our children understand. Kids are natural protectors of their peers. They have innate empathy, and you may have seen an infant console their friend at even this young age. Learning to maintain this empathy and to be kind comes from what they see when they watch us. When they see us being kind to strangers, friends, relatives, and colleagues, they learn how important it is to be respected and to respect one another.
Be Your Own Person
Making friends is harder for us adults than it is our kids. They seem to slot into the schoolyard as though they have always been there. You may see their tastes and opinions change the more they connect with their friends. When their favourite colour was once red, it's now green because Josh likes green. Help them to recognise it is important for them to be independent of their friends, to make their own choices, and to have their own opinions. Being their own person will help strengthen their relationships.