Shhhhh…. Listen to your child.
Listening to your child is one of the most effective parenting tools, which works both ways. The parent is listening as well as being heard.
It is very normal for a parent to reject a child’s observation with “no that cannot be”;“ it’s not hot, it’s cold put on your jacket”; “please walk, you cannot be tired, you just got up from a nap”;“your stomach is hurting because you have not eaten” (even though he has just had a glass of milk and feeling too full to eat a morsel). I would recommend you say. ‘You may be feeling a little warm but this nip may catch you and give you a running nose. You remember what happened last time that you got it?”
Rejecting the child at once can confuse and enrage them. Teaching them that they do not know what they are feeling is reducing their self-confidence and teaching them not to trust themselves. You can put yourself in your child’s shoes by asking yourself -What if I was a child who was tired, hot, angry, etc, and I wanted an important adult in my life to know how I felt? But no one is listening.’
Help Children Deal with Their Feelings:
• Listen quietly and with your full attention without butting in.
• Acknowledge the child’s feelings with a word such as “oh”, “hmm”, or “I see”
• Give the feeling a name: “That sounds frustrating” or “You sound really angry”
• Give the child her wishes in a fantasy: “I wish I had 100 cookies to give you!”
• Children need to have their feelings accepted, respected, and acknowledged–not agreed with. A few words of acceptance can soothe feelings and dramatically change your child’s mood.
• The attitude in which you talk to your children is as important as the words used. They need a compassionate attitude that conveys “You are a loving and capable person”.
• Hold off on giving advice, as this deprives children of the experience of developing their own solutions.
• You may end up making your child more cooperative and may face lesser tantrums.
Limit the Actions not the feelings
All feelings can be accepted. It is certain actions that must be limited. Being permissive of feelings is not the same as being permissive of actions: “I can see you are really mad at your brother, but tell him with your words, not your fists.”
Negative emotions are more tempting for parents to deny or ignore or suppress with more negation.
Sometimes it may be helpful for your child if you identify that he may have 2 or more different feelings about the same situation: “It seems to me that you have 2 different feelings about going to nani’s. You are excited to see them, but you are scared to be away from us for that long.”
Many children cannot explain “why” they feel a certain way. Give them appropriate vocabulary to explain their feelings. If you simply say “I understand how you feel” your child may not believe you, but if you say “I know you are scared” They will know you do understand.
For some children, physical activity such as punching a pillow, running circles, or scribbling may help ease intense emotions.
If you make a mistake when dealing with your child’s emotions, go back and try again. If you incorrectly identify your child’s feeling, They will correct you. Do not hesitate to apologies if you have been too harsh… your child will understand and go on to be a sensitive human being.
• Children usually do not like their exact words to be repeated back to them.
• If your child prefers not to talk while she’s upset just sit with her/him.
• Children want real parents- Parents who understand them. They do not like to be judged all the time.
• It is not helpful to respond with more intensity than the child feels. If the child raises his voice and you scream back then it will convince the child that it’s OK to scream like that.
• Never give names to your child “are you stupid?” instead say “I know you are getting confused, let us go over it once again”. The child believes you, so will believe everything you say. Watch out, what you want him / her to believe.