Healthy Relationships
Studies show that isolation and loneliness can be damaging to physical and emotional wellness, and can lead to poorer long-term health outcomes.  Relationships that are unsupportive, selfish, and stressful can create greater unhappiness in our lives. Many of us have one or two relationships that feel toxic to us (people who drain our peace of mind and whom we try to limit time with) and these kinds of connections can make us feel depressed, lonely, undeserving of positivity, and ineffective in our life goals. 

Honesty is essential to a healthy relationship . The importance of letting someone know how you feel means presenting issues that might be uncomfortable or cause the other to be defensive. Both parties should acknowledge the hurt and then respond in a caring way. This is not always a reality, but we need to work towards being able to communicate in a way that is empowering to ourselves, and in a way, that indicates that we are equally important.
We are not responsible for other’s happiness . Each person is responsible for creating their own healthy lives and happiness. Ideally, that can happen together in a relationship, but when we are honest with ourselves and we feel that a relationship is toxic and the other will not change, we need to walk away. Ending relationships can be painful, but self-preservation and recognition of self-worth justify the challenging steps it might take to walk away. 

An important consideration is to maximize time spent with people who make you feel good, and minimize time with those who don’t. For some this is a constant, life-long process of learning to value self and to make one’s own happiness a priority. 

Creating lasting, meaningful and supportive relationships, including community acquaintances, friendships, and (potentially) romantic relationships can make us happier and healthier. 

Healthy relationships are necessary to a healthy lifestyle!

Children and attachment
As infants, we begin forming attachment to our parents and these early childhood experiences that can influence our ability to have healthy, stable relationships later on in life. A child's best chance at success is with  secure attachment , which is only possible if a child has at least one caregiver in their life that is consistently: warm, responsive, reliable, able to set appropriate boundaries, and helps the child feel safe and cared for. 

To support secure attachment in infants and young children: 
  • Engage in frequent eye contact with your baby
  • Be responsive when they cry & attend to physical needs (change diapers, feed, soothe/rock) while being warm and calm 
  • Match your child's emotions: laugh when they do, smile back
  • Be available, in body and in mind. Occasionally make time to give your child undivided attention – put the phones away! 
  • Have a predictable, consistent routine 
  • Be honest and authentic - Secure attachment comes from your child being able to trust you 

As children get older, they continue learning how to have relationships by observing the interactions of those around them. So, consider what kind of example you are setting: 
  • Are your relationships steady and long-lasting? 
  • Do you communicate in healthy and effective ways?
  • Would you consider yourself a good friend? Honest, reliable, caring, supportive?
  • Are the ways in which you socialize with peers the kind of example you want your children to follow? 

A parent is a child's first teacher , especially when it comes to healthy attachment and relationships. So, set a strong example! 

The Early Childhood team now offers a closed Facebook group for parents and caregivers. Where there will be tips and discussion....  Join now!
Being Allys for those who may feel they have no one
n recent past years, young people have seen and heard of police brutality, police killings, school to prison pipeline, being separated from their parents due to immigration policies, bullying and being bullied, all while trying to get an education, and trying to maintain a positive outlook on life and the future. Often this causes youth to not trust people, or better yet trust the wrong people. Also, adults, teachers, mentors, and the like are faced with a dilemma of how do we teach and make ourselves available for the youth of today. I think we first must figure out what role is available for us to meet the needs of our youth, and guide them successfully through the different stages of growth and development, as well as encourage them to maintain a positive outlook. Here are some roles to choose from as an adult to be there for our youth:

  • Ally - To provide support and approval; show commitment through thick and thin; encourage a ‘can-do’ attitude and bolster self-esteem.
  • Emotional-Worker - To model and promote emotional literacy; the ability to recognize and handle feelings in oneself and in others.
  • Catalyst - To provide the stimulus for change; challenge the assumptions that young people have about themselves and others; open the doors to new experiences.
  • Mentor - To provide information, advice and learning opportunities; help young people to develop skills such as decision making; encourage young people to think through why they do what they do and what might enhance their life chances.
  • Advocate - To act on behalf of young people when they don’t have confidence but build their skills and confidence for self-advocacy.
  • Facilitator - To help young people achieve tasks; manage group dynamics, recognizing when to step in and when to let young people find their own way.
  • Supervisor - To create an environment in which young people feel safe, physically and psychologically.

No matter the young people you are working with, the issues that they are facing, or the stage of relationships, these are some categories that you can choose from to help young people navigate through life amidst the trauma that they may encounter or face in society. 

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