Strengthening Relationships Through Connecting Habits

Category: Play Therapy

The quality of our relationships shapes our lives and influences the level of personal happiness and satisfaction. According to positive psychology, positive relationships directly correlate with life quality and our ability to thrive. Therefore, the ability to connect, build rapport, trust, and strengthen relationships is a critical life skill.

We all know people who appear to make friends effortlessly and others who cannot establish meaningful connections despite their best intentions. There could be many explanations and theories about the why.

However, we can safely guess that a person learns to practice connecting habits at a young age because their caregiver provided love and safety and practiced and modeled connecting habits; their children integrated those habits into their own behavior.

The 7 connecting habits are:

  1. Listening
  2. Respecting
  3. Accepting
  4. Encouraging
  5. Supporting
  6. Trusting
  7. Negotiating differences

When parents and caregivers authentically practice and model connecting habits, they strengthen the family relationships and provide a blueprint for the child to connect with their peers, teachers, coaches, and future significant relations.

Intergrading connecting habits in a child also promotes a sense of internal control, which empowers them to take action and make the appropriate adjustments to their lives.

The other side of the coin is the 7 disconnecting habits. Those are:

  1. Complaining
  2. Blaming
  3. Criticizing
  4. Nagging
  5. Punishing
  6. threatening
  7. Rewarding to control(bribing)

The frequent and consistent practice of disconnecting habits results in a person believing that they have no control over a situation; in a few words, they feel and act like victims lacking a sense of internal control; they believe that things happen to them, and most things are out of their control.

When parents and caregivers are building and strengthening relationships, they practice the following:

  1. They stay present at the moment
  2. They create a safe and warm environment
  3. They avoid coercion and punishment
  4. They express genuine concern
  5. They show empathy
  6. They are positive and optimistic

In conclusion, parents and caregivers are tremendously influential in providing their children with the ability to make and keep positive and significant relationships, providing them with a blueprint to life satisfaction and happiness.

Marina Blalock AMFT