Surviving & Thriving with EI: Family Edition — Relationship Management

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In the last post on social awareness, we talked about how you could lead a family meeting where everyone shares what they need from each other to stay emotionally healthy during the pandemic. We also shared strategies to identify where each of you currently is in relation to where you want to be emotionally--feeling grounded, positive and connected. Today we will focus our work through the lens of relationship management. Relationship management refers to how we communicate with and manage our interaction with others. Specifically, we will work on strengthening our relationships as a family in order to support each other to get from where we are to where we want to be, AND stay there.

In our second blog in the series, we spoke about the four motivational drivers. Our relationships with others is one of the key drivers for thriving and nurturing resilience. When we see and hear others, we make them feel both loved and a sense of belonging. How do we create the conditions for love and belonging to exist - for ourselves and for those we love? How can we see our family more clearly? What are their hopes and dreams? When we share our goals, listen attentively to each other’s needs, and support each other to reach our goals, we can create powerful conditions for love and belonging.

The purpose of sharing our goals and making agreements together is to better understand what each person needs, as well as what will get in their way, so that we may support each other most effectively. By making these agreements about how we can best live together now that we are working and learning from home, we are making commitments to support each other as we move forward.

Create Personal & Family Goals  

Now that everyone has shared what they need and heard back from the family, let’s set some goals for the week ahead.  Invite everyone in your family to take some time to think about 1-3 goals for self care, and 1-2 goals for the family.  Provide as much time to think as everyone needs. There’s a sample template that you can use below that might be helpful in guiding the conversation.  Everyone shares their personal goals (not family goals yet), what they need to reach their goals, and gets support from the family after they share in the form of questions and affirmation.

 

Goals

Person 1

Person 2

Person 3

Person 4

 

What we need in order to reach our goals

Person 1

Person 2 Person 3

Person 4

Family Agreements

 

 

Make Family Agreements 

Frame this part of the conversation as being about what you need as a family “team” to be as happy as you can be living together in the new reality of social distancing and working and learning from home. The guiding question here is “What agreements can we make on how to support each other in order to stay positive and connected during this time?”  Encourage everyone to share the family goals they came with to the meeting.  If everyone in the family agrees to the goals, put them on the list.  If everyone is not in agreement, then decide together whether the goal needs to be changed so everyone agrees, or whether that particular goal should not be included in the family agreements.  As you lead this discussion, it's important to ensure everyone has a chance to be heard and affirmed and also that the agreements truly meet the needs of the family. One way to do this is to align the goals with the motivational drivers that we discussed in our second blog.

We’ve all heard of the “oxygen mask” metaphor to describe taking care of ourselves. There are so many priorities in our lives right now. When we make the time to talk together as a family, we put our oxygen mask on our most important priority first - our families.  In our next blog, we will discuss how to check in on this list over time to see how we are doing, what we can do for each other, and whether we are doing what we agreed to do.

If you are looking for more fun ways to strengthen your relationships with your family in order to meet each others’ needs, here’s a free quiz to help you identify each other’s “love language”, by Dr. Gary Chapman.  There’s a quiz for children, teens, singles, and couples.

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