We all need to form relationships, connect with other people, and belong to social groups. We have relationships with many of the people around us, not just within our own family. For example, relationships form between friends, between colleagues at work, and between teachers and pupils in schools. We get a sense of connection and belonging from having good relationships, and there is strong evidence that a feeling of belonging can lead to good mental health. Having good relationships is really important for a child or young person’s wellbeing.
A good relationship involves:
Trusting each other
Being open and honest, keeping promises.
Choosing the right time and place, listening carefully to really understand the other person, thinking about their perspective and being aware of non-verbal cues.
Respecting each other
Being considerate and aware of how the other person feels.
Give and take
Giving to each other, and cooperating and compromising to both get the best from the relationship.
Accepting the different views and opinions of the other person and valuing each others’ differences.
When I ask you to listen and you start giving advice, you have not done what I have asked. When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings. When I ask you to listen and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as it may seem. Listen! All I ask is that you listen: not talk or do - just hear me.
Watch this short video to find out more about communicating effectively:
Here are some activities to encourage the development of good relationships:
Using a talking stick (or anything that’s nice to hold, like a soft toy) can help children and young people listen to each other with respect and with the intention to understand.
Before I tuck the kids into bed we try to have a 10 minute chat about the day. They look forward to telling me all about their day - what went well and anything they are worried about. I tell them about my day too. We pass around a teddy to hold when we are speaking and only the person holding the teddy is allowed to speak while the others listen.
Mum of 11 year old twins
This can also be helpful when you have a problem to solve, for example if a group of friends has fallen out. Each person involved gets the chance to hold the talking stick and speak until they feel understood. The children or young people take turns until everyone has had a go with the talking stick. No one should interrupt while the person with the talking stick is speaking.
Think about what your family, class or group does best together and celebrate it by creating your own unique trophy.
What you need:
What you do: