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Your Child’s Emotional Piggy Bank

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Glossary of Terms

At URSTRONG, we believe it’s important to use kids’ language for kids’ problems. That’s why we have our very own, unique language of friendship. Here are some important terms that children, parents, and teachers learn in our program.

Friendship Fire®: Any situation between you and a friend that results in negative feelings.

Mean-on-Purpose: When someone is intentionally unkind to someone else.

Quick Comeback: A very short word or phrase that is used when someone is Mean-on-Purpose. Quick Comebacks are designed to let the other person know that you heard/saw what they did and you’re not okay with it.

Friend-o-meter: A visual tool that assesses the health of friendships, ranging from the healthy zone to the unhealthy zone.

Friend-o-cycle: The normal cycle in a friendship that brings the friendship back to the healthy zone after experiencing a Friendship Fire. The phases of the Friend-o-cycle are: Healthy Friendship – Fire – Confront the issue – Talk-it-Out – Forgive & Forget – Closer & Stronger – Healthy Friendship…

4 Friendship Facts: A set of four facts that help us have realistic expectations in our friendships so we understand what is normal.

  1. No friendship (relationship) is perfect.
  2. Every friendship is different.
  3. Trust & Respect are the two most important qualities of a friendship.
  4. Friendships change…and that’s okay.

Red Shirt Girl and Striped Shirt Boy: Two characters that remind us about the importance of body language.

Friendship Ninja: A Friendship Ninja is someone who surrounds themselves with friends in the healthy zone of the Friend-o-meter. A Friendship Ninja is kind and friendly to everyone. A Friendship Ninja understands the 4 Friendship Facts and puts out their Friendship Fires when they ignite. A Friendship Ninja stands up for themselves and their friends. A Friendship Ninja makes new friends and understands that friendships change…and that’s okay. Above all else, a Friendship Ninja is someone you want to be friends with because they’re true to who they are!

Have you heard of the 5:1 ratio? Check out these easy ways to make positive investments in your child’s mental health.

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Friendship Fact #3 reminds us that “Trust and Respect are the two most important qualities of a friendship”. How do we build and maintain trust and respect in our friendships?

Positive experiences build trust. They enable us to feel a deep sense of connection and help our friendships grow stronger. Friendships that are built on a firm foundation of trust are usually more robust and resilient – they feel good. On the flip side, in friendships where the foundation of trust is a little shaky, we can sometimes walk away feeling a little worried, uncertain, and uncomfortable.

To help your child grow trusting friendships, make investments in their emotional piggy bank. 

Every relationship is a transaction where we give and receive. Dr John Gottman recommends that healthy relationships maintain a 5:1 ratio – five positive interactions for every one negative interaction. You can put this to practise in your relationship with your child, helping to keep their emotional books balanced. If a child is storing up more positives than negatives in their relationship with you, they have more positives to draw on and your relationship will be more resilient in the face of challenge. If we practise this in our parent/child relationships and put healthy investments into our children’s emotional piggy banks, we can encourage our children to make similar positive investments in their friendships.

Here are a few additional ways to invest some positives in your child’s emotional piggy bank:

  • Show Appreciation: Value their contributions and shine a light on their strengths. “Hey Ruby, I really liked the way that you just offered a biscuit to Charlotte too! That was very thoughtful!
  • Positive Reflection: Highlight the positives by asking them what went well in their day or by showing interest in the things they are excited about. “That’s so cool you love Minecraft so much. Do you think you could teach me a little bit about it?
  • Gratitude: Cherish the moment and show your child how grateful you are for them. “I’m so glad you’re cuddling on the couch with me. I love our time together!

We want to help our children energise the positives and shrink the negatives in all their relationships.  When we do these things in our interactions with them, they mirror that behavior at school in their friendships. They learn how to create positive relationships and make investments in their friends’ emotional piggy banks too.

Written by Megan Booth
Licensed URSTRONG Presenter & Educational Consultant