For the past few weeks, we’ve been chatting about the top life skills our kids need now more than ever. Our first two installments covered practical, tangible skills – money management, and cooking/cleaning.
The next two weeks, we’ll be moving into areas that are a little bit more difficult to measure, but still oh-so-important. Sometimes, if we don’t see dishes left on the table, dirty bathrooms, or low bank statements – it can be easy to ignore a problematic behavior. That doesn’t mean a problem doesn’t exist.
This week, we’ll discuss the important role positive relationship skills play in our kid’s lives as they move into adulthood.
We are all social beings and as such, we interact with others regularly. It may be tempting to crawl under blankets and binge watch Hulu all day, but that’s not always an option. Instead, we need to nurture our relationships with our partners, children, friends, other parents, and coworkers. Sometimes, these interactions are easy, but sometimes they are complicated and difficult.
We can set our children up for future relationship success by beginning the process of cultivating positive relationship skills, now. Without positive relationship skills, our children will grow into adults who aren’t able to communicate clearly, open up, or handle tough situations.
LISTENING & COMMUNICATION IN A PARTNERSHIP
Communication in a marriage or relationship is very different than general communication skills. It’s about listening, being selfless and empathetic and tackling the difficult conversations without prejudice. Words matter. They can be hurtful or beautiful. They can bring us closer to each other or they can rip us apart.
Teaching our children to think before they speak and listen more than they talk are communication tools that will serve them throughout their lives and in all of their close relationships.
VALUING & EXPRESSING RESPECT
At the heart of every successful marriage, there’s mutual respect.
Let’s face it, nobody’s marriage is perfect, but respecting our spouse and our differences can help your marriage become stronger and happier. Kids learn from what we do, not what we say. Learning to view our partners through the lens of another human being with feelings, desires and wants that may not always match your own, is an important skill for us to develop.
If your children are witnessing a strong and healthy marriage on a daily basis, that is the type of relationship they will model when the time comes.
VALUING & EXPRESSING LOVE
Love is about buying gifts and spoiling your children and spouse, right?
Love is about quality time, affection, expression and understanding. We all know what Hollywood and Hallmark say love is, but we also know love is about so much more. To love and to be loved is truly a life skill and something that takes work.
We need to teach our kids that love isn’t always about the chocolate, perfect IG selfies and romantic getaways. It’s about all of the ‘hard stuff’ that makes a marriage last.
HOW TO ACCEPT COMPLIMENTS & CRITICISM
Accepting both compliments and constructive criticism isn’t easy! Oftentimes we fail to accept compliments with grace or downplay them and get embarrassed.
Yet, we’re often crushed by criticisms (even if they’re valid) taking them personally and to heart.
Learning to simply say, “thank you” when you get a compliment and learning to view criticism as feedback (assess it, then apply it or throw it away) can serve our kids well.
Today’s moms have likely heard all the buzz about social-emotional learning. If you’re in the business world, I’m sure you’ve read a lot about how social and emotional intelligence are important in the workplace.
Why is this? Well, because people are finding that being emotionally intelligent can be just as important as understanding the nuances of engineering or physics.
As the human population grows and we become more global in our interactions, being sensitive to others, understanding emotions and learning to harness them in a positive way can be a make-or-break life skill. Fortunately, we can start teaching our kids emotional intelligence now so they will have this skill throughout their life.
Instilling positive relationship skills in your kids may take some more time and energy while our kids are young. Ultimately, focusing on these skills now will bring your entire family the happiness and contentment you want for the future. For more information on how we model positive relationship skills and other life skills for your kids, check this out.