Stage 5: Relationship Skills
How do we define relationship skills?
At its core, relationship skills involve the ability to communicate effectively, listen attentively, and cooperate with others. It also means being able to navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups, and knowing how to provide leadership or seek help when needed.
Everyone needs to learn how to share, take turns, cooperate, resolve conflicts peacefully, and build friendships to be healthy and happy, after all.
Your relationship skills also involve your ability to:
- Differentiate appropriate and inappropriate social behaviors
- Ask questions and respond with empathy
- Deal with another person’s negative emotions
- Negotiate and compromise
- Respect boundaries
- Handle conflict and disagreements
- Consider the emotions, perspectives and values of others
- Build lasting, meaningful relationships
Why are relationship skills so important to teach my child now?
As anyone who has ever been a child knows, the world can be a confusing and overwhelming place. There are so many new things to learn and so many different people to interact with. It can be tough to know how to act in every situation. That's why it's so important for children to develop their relationship skills.
Also, strong relationships help children feel loved and supported. When children feel loved and supported, they are more likely to be confident and secure in themselves. Additionally, good relationships provide children with role models, be it an older friend or a teacher in school.
By developing these skills early on, we set our children up for success and happiness in all areas of life. As children grow older, they will encounter many different types of relationships. By developing strong relationship skills early on, they will be equipped to choose which relationships serve them and which don’t, get to know new people with less stress and anxiety, and simply enjoy being around people!
How to Teach Relationship Skills
As a parent, you can help your child develop these skills by modeling positive behavior and encouraging open communication. Let your child see you making an effort to be kind, patient, and respectful towards others.
It's also important to provide opportunities for your child to practice socializing in a safe and supportive environment. Different types of play can be great opportunities for kids to learn how to socialize and resolve conflict on their own, as well.
Encourage empathy by helping your child to understand the feelings of others. Talk about what it might be like to be in somebody else's shoes, and encourage your child to see things from different points of view.
Finally, encourage your child to express their emotions in a positive way. Help them to understand that feelings are normal and valid, but that there are constructive ways to express them.