This is the seventh in a series of informational blog posts: SEL Intro #7. Check back weekly or search our archive for more!
What Are Relationship Skills?
It sounds pretty basic, right? But the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has a list to make this even easier to grasp. They include relationship skills as one of their five core competencies for building “students’ capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors to deal effectively and ethically with daily tasks and challenges.” In other words, relationship skills are an important part of Social Emotional Learning (SEL). This competency encompasses several skills that make up “the ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups.” The list includes: communication, social engagement, relationship-building and teamwork.
What Do Relationship Skills Do?
Being able to form and sustain positive relationships with other people is crucial. In order to be successful in this, CASEL says, we need to be able to “communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed”. This may seem like pre-school all over again, but there are actually plenty of us who could use some more polishing in this area.
At Camp EDMO® we foster relationship skills by partnering kids with other kids and encouraging parents to invite friends to camp. Plus, the EDMO Method® includes collaboration, empathy and emotional management in the skills we build at camp.
Why Is It Important?
Let’s continue with our thought experiment from the previous post in this series, SEL Intro #6: Social Awareness. Back to science class. I’ve already used social awareness to see that my friend is upset, so now I can use my relationship skills to help make her feel better and strengthen our friendship at the same time.
I can use communication to empathize and agree that our work in science class is difficult. It’s true that I got frustrated, too. We can engage socially and talk about something besides science as we head to lunch. We’ll use teamwork to find a place to sit to eat and then to go over the science together.
All of this helps make my relationship with my friend stronger. But is this something that would come naturally to most children, or even adults? It’s important to remember that it takes time, practice and guidance to develop the skills to make and keep good relationships.
More Info, Please?
You can learn more about the core competency Relationship Skills by following the links below:
- Watch ThinkTVPBS’s Relationship Skills video.
- The blog Confident Parents Confident Kids has a number of posts on relationship skills.
- Greater Good Science Center has many articles that cover relationships.
Still not sure about what SEL is? Check our original post in this series: SEL Intro #1: What is Social Emotional Learning? Plus, be on the lookout for the next in this series of posts: SEL Intro #8: Responsible Decision Making.