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Feelings in relationships

For your child, being able to have healthy relationships involves understanding how they feel about different people.

Introduction

For your child, being able to have healthy relationships involves understanding how they feel about different people.

There are different ways to think about the feelings we have about other people.

It can start with a simple question like ‘How does this person make me feel?’

Understanding how a person makes them feel and knowing what to do if they feel uncomfortable is an important self-protection skill for children of all ages. For more information about self-protection skills, go to (link to Personal Safety topic page)

If your child is good at identifying how people make them feel, you can then move onto more complex questions which are important as your child develops more relationships, for example ‘How much do I like this person?’ or ‘Who do I like better?’

As your child ages, it is also a good idea to start talking about feelings of sexual attraction, or sexy feelings. It is important to understand what these feelings are and the things that happen to your body when feelings occur. For more information, go to Developing Sexual Feelings.

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Conversation Starters

I notice you were playing with the new person in your class. Do you like them? How do they make you feel?
You seem upset after talking to Max. How do you feel about what happened?
I love you!

Strategies for you to try

Naming your child’s feelings

Encourage your child to practice naming feelings as they experience it and then acknowledge that you have understood them. This should be in the communication style your child uses. Picture cards or soft toys with faces can be particularly useful if your child has difficulty with spoken communication. If your child has a speech pathologist, they can assist with this as well.

Name your own feelings

Role model naming feelings by telling your child how you feel as well. Again, this should be in the communication style that your child uses.

Trusted person worksheet

Use the worksheet to help your child identify their 3 trusted people. Put the completed worksheet on their wall and reinforce that your child should go to their trusted people if a person makes them feel uncomfortable.

trying to make friends

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Introduction to puberty for girls
Feelings in relationships

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