Unit 028 - Develop Positive Relationships with Children, Young People

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Unit 28
Develop positive relationships with children, young people and others involved in their care

1.1 Explain why positive relationships with children and young people are important and how these are built and maintained Why positive relationships with children and young people are important (Ref 1.1): * When children feel comfortable with us they can separate more easily from their parents. * Children are more likely to participate in play and learning activities if they are secure emotionally * when children have strong relationships, they are less likely to show unwanted behaviour as we can recognise and meet their needs * children’s language develops more quickly because they feel confident talking to us * practitioners can plan more accurately as they understand children’s developmental needs and know their interests * practitioners are able to respond to children more effectively because they can recognise their expressions and emotions. Good relationships are really important for our wellbeing. Humans have evolved as social animals, so we have a deep, natural need to connect with other people and to belong to a social group. This sense of connection and belonging comes from good relationships with the people around us - in our families, at work or school and with our friends. There is strong evidence that when we feel we belong, we will flourish. A child’s ability to develop good relationships is an extremely important step on the path to getting the best out of his or her life. How positive relationships are built and maintained (Ref 1.1): * Communicating effectively

Often, we focus on trying to get our point across or saying how we feel about something. However, communication is a two-way process - it involves listening as well as speaking. How we listen to others is just as important as what we say to them. But good listening is much more than staying silent when another speaks. The most effective form of listening for building good relationships is empathic listening. Empathy is about seeing things from the other person's point of view. So, empathic listening means listening with the intention of really understanding what the other person means and how the other person feels.

We are much more likely to build good relationships with children and young people if we really make an effort to see things from their point of view. If we do this, they will feel supported and understood, and are much more likely to open up and tell us about what's happening in their lives and how they feel. Seeing things from a child’s point of view is not easy. It means really trying to step into their shoes and imagine how a situation looks through their eyes and how it feels to them. This quote helps us understand how children (and adults!) really want to be listened to: | When I ask you to listen and you start giving advice, you have not done what I have asked. When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings. When I ask you to listen and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as it may seem. Listen! All I ask is that you listen: not talk or do – just hear me.| | | Ralph Roughton| |

We also need to consider the child's perspective if they ask us for our opinion or advice. Children are much more likely to listen to our opinion or advice if we can put it in a way that means something to them. For example, if they ask us for advice on what subjects they should study at high school, it may be best to explain why we think certain subjects would be better than others. Or it may be that they don't want specific advice on what subjects they should do, but they want us to help them think about it so they can then make the decision more effectively themselves. So, asking probing questions like: "what do you enjoy doing most?" or "what would you like to find out more about?" or "what would...
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