Research has shown unequivocally that having strong, meaningful relationships contributes to our overall happiness, fulfillment, and well-being. Yet today children have many obstacles to healthy relationships. As we have seen, there is an epidemic of extrinsic motivation amongst our children causing them to believe their value and self-worth comes from the praise and recognition of others rather than from their own personal effort and fulfillment. Thus it’s easy to for children to see other people as either an impediment to their success or as the answer to it. Sadly, it’s quite common for children to see other people through the lens of the 3 Cs—Compare, Compete, or Control. All too often this is the very root of bullying.
In order to have fulfilling relationships, we must teach our children to connect with others on a deep emotional level. This can be accomplished through understanding, empathy, compassion, teamwork, and clear, honest communication. You can do this by teaching your child My Shoes, Your Shoes, Our Shoes. This tool develops social intelligence – the interpersonal and social skills your child needs for positive and healthy relationships. Here’s how you can explain it to your child:
My Shoes is learning to clearly and honestly express yourself because no one knows what it’s like to be you.
There are three steps to My Shoes.
- Express clearly your thoughts and feelings
- Explain instead of blame
- Speak instead of scream
Your Shoes is about empathy and compassion. It’s about learning how to hear, understand, and care about the thoughts and feelings of others.
There are three steps to Your Shoes.
- Feel and understand what it’s like to be in the other person’s shoes
- Listen with your ears, eyes, and heart
- Open your mind and close your mouth
Our Shoes is learning how to work together in a spirit of cooperation instead of competition. Looking for connections to other people instead of focusing on feeling separate or different.
There are two steps to Our Shoes.
- Respect each other’s feelings and opinions
- Work together to find a solution or understanding
We are not alone in this world and our social relationships have an enormous influence on our happiness and fulfillment in life. My Shoes, Your Shoes, Our Shoes will help your child to develop healthy relationships based on mutual acknowledgment, care and respect.
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