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Karen Brennan
  • Karen Brennan

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Building Relational Credits

Monday, March 3, 2014

Relational Credits:  Kim tells us that in parenting, “it is often in the intervals—the spaces between activities—that relationships are built.”  He writes about including pauses, a time where nothing in particular is happening, in the rhythm of the day.  Some of these can be the time in between other activities—the going to and fro.  When I picked Rachel up from pre-school, I would often ask her what she did at school that day (probably not the best thing to do, but I really wanted to know) and she would usually tell me that she slept—all day.  Of course this wasn’t true, but my questioning did not elicit the information I wanted.  Sometimes later that day or even the next week she would tell me stuff that happened.  It was almost always during a quiet time in the day, often when we were preparing dinner together.  Kim says that to build these relational credits, we commit to regularity and also become a parent kids can be with doing nothing.  This reminds me of “The 7 habits of highly effective people,” where Stephen Covey writes about the emotional bank account. An Emotional Bank Account is a metaphor that describes the amount of trust, the feeling of safety, that's built up in a relationship. In the 7 habits, we make deposits in this account through courtesy, kindness, honesty, apologizing sincerely when we make a withdrawal, and keeping our commitments.  We make withdrawals through the opposite—discourtesy, disrespect, cutting a person off, overreacting, ignoring, being arbitrary, betraying trust, etc.  It really takes time to build up this account—time together without much of an agenda.

Creating these relational credits is not usually so challenging when your child is young, but it is great to have a large emotional/relational bank account as children reach the often turbulent years of adolescence.  It’s a long way away for you, but listening, waiting and pausing are good habits to build for now and later.

Do you have pauses built into your day?  Do you have enough of them?  Do you like them?  Do you have any pauses where you get a little time to yourself or with other adults?

The next section of this chapter is about family dinner and food.  We will talk about it next week—food is always a popular topic here in Parent Child.

We will continue knitting until the end of March—which is also the end of our Winter session, although hopefully winter will end before that!  If you have any projects of your own, feel free to bring them along.  I also have some simple patterns for animals or dolls, if you would like to try something else after you finish your washcloth.  You can also make a second washcloth if you want.

Every day is special, but there are no special events coming up at school, except:
Senior Projects!!! This Wednesday through Friday, including Mercedes (Ms. Kate’s daughter) at 6:00PM on Thursday.  You can check the CWS website for the complete schedule.