There’s scientific evidence that healthy relationships are foundational to a healthy life. But in childhood or as a young adult did you ever learn the skills that lead to healthy relationships? Me neither.
Instead, the Happily Ever After myth falsely teaches us that connection with others comes naturally and that humans have an intuitive sense of how to be kind and respectful.
Um, no. In reality, these skills are learned.
When I became a parent, I quickly realized I needed much stronger relationship skills. My toolbox for maintaining my relationship with my husband while working, caring for babies and myself was pretty empty. I felt overwhelmed, exhausted and alone.
From this dark place, I started a journey that has shifted my life in profound and positive ways. And this journey to become better at relationships has flowed into every aspect of my life. (including this blog and my books!)
Parenthood has definitely been my gateway to growth. Here are four relationship skills that I’ve found to be really important in my family. I hope they are helpful to you and your family as well.
Four Relationship Skills that are Important for Families
(That are Not Taught in School)
- How we communicate really matters. Blaming statements and criticism fuel conflict. Try to express your needs without them. Starting tough conversations with “I” instead of “you” can change the whole conversation.
- “Name to Tame” emotions. Notice and feel emotions instead of avoiding, ignoring or burying them. Only when we recognize our emotions, can we work through them. By strengthening our own Emotional Intelligence, we’re better able to help our loved ones manage difficult emotions in a healthy way.
- When overcome with anger, take a break. When we’re so angry that it’s difficult to communicate respectfully or rationally it’s time to pause. Go for a walk, read a book or do something to calm down and take your mind off the issue. Then, from a place of calm, address the issue.
- The only person we can control is ourselves, but that can be really powerful. When you feel triggered by something or someone, pause and try to ground yourself instead of reacting. Then, with a level head, choose how to respond. I’ve noticed that when I stay grounded in these moments, the outcome shifts.
PASS IT ON. Jessica Speer’s weekly BLOG focuses on helping kids and families thrive. Posts offer simple ideas to help kids and families connect & foster healthy relationships. If you know someone who might appreciate this content, please pass it on! Click here to follow blog via email or Facebook.