Everyday children experience stressful situations. Challenges such as not getting what they want or feeling that a sibling is liked more can often cause emotions to erupt quickly to the surface.
Our challenge is to listen without judgment of “right” or “wrong” or “good” or “bad”. Parents can learn to accept their child’s released feelings. Once your children have “cleansed” their emotional center, they will be more playful and cooperative.
The first step is to avoid using statements that discount and shut down their expression of feelings. These examples are similar to communication blocks.
Ways parents respond that discounts feelings:
- Denial: “How can you possibly be tired when you just had twelve hours of sleep?”
- Comparison: Bobby isn’t afraid of the water. What’s the problem?”
- Instruction: “You can’t mean you hate the baby. You really love her.”
- Ridicule: “What a wimp! Are you going to cry over a little scratch?”
- Threats: “If you’re going to whine just because you weren’t picked for the starting team, maybe you shouldn’t be on the team at all.”
- Sarcasm: “I just love hearing about how much you hate my cooking in front of your grandmother!”
When we discount feelings, we often think we are being helpful, but children find this kind of talk hurtful and intrusive. Instead, first make sure you have an opportunity to release your own pent up emotions elsewhere and then you can listen with love and acceptance.Your child’s hurt will be released so that joy and laughter can follow.
Think of going through emotional times together as a way to build a closer bond. My daughter considers me her “rock” because of the support I give her during the hard times rather than our fun times together. Summertime is a great time, without the distraction of homework, to become closer to your children.
For fun, take my Limit Setting Level Quiz.
If you like the Enneagram Personality System, check out the book The Enneagram of Parenting
©2015 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Family Success Coach since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking and private parenting coaching sessions. She writes the Middle School Mom column for the Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. She works with parents of 4 – 25 year-old children. Contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com, cynthia@bridges2understanding,com, or 650. 679.8138 to learn more about creating the relationship you want with your children.