Do you want to learn how to help your children deal with their feelings? Are you tired of saying the wrong things to them when you are only trying to make them feel better? Most parents don’t really accept their children’s feelings but tell them they don’t really feel that way or don’t have a reason to be upset. According to Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish in How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, “steady denial of feelings can confuse and enrage kids. Also teaches them not to know what their feelings are – not to trust them.
If you are like me, there is nothing worse than somebody yelling at you and not giving you a chance to respond – especially when other people are watching. Think about being at work and your boss asks you to do something extra for him by the end of the day. You try to take care of it right away but keep getting interrupted with other emergencies and forget about it. You barely had time to eat your lunch and before you know it the work day is over. Your boss comes over to you in front of your coworkers and asks if you have completed the project? You try to explain how busy you were and that you didn’t finish it. He cuts you off and shouts at you, “I’m not interested in your excuses! I’m not paying you to sit around all day and do nothing! You want to explain but he cuts you off and storms out.
You are humiliated, angry and upset. Your coworkers don’t really know what to say. They try to make you feel better by denying your feelings, telling you “that’s life”, giving you unwanted advice, asking you what could have been so important not to finish the project, defending your boss, or pitying you. All you needed to get was some empathy. Imagine your children see a situation with you from this perspective.
FOUR WAYS TO HELP WITH FEELINGS
1. Give kids your full attention. Instead of half-listening focus on LISTENING and let them tell you what is wrong.
2. Acknowledge their feelings with a word – “I see,” “Oh” or “Mmm”.
3. Help them find a word to explain how they are feeling. It gives them comfort.
4. Give a child his wishes in fantasy. Example – I wish I could magically make this appear for you.
I will be offering a workshop in the spring on “How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So your Kids will Talk”. Please contact me if you would like more information.