Validating a Child’s feelings
Posted on October 24 2016
When children speak about their problems, parents should listen, instead of arguing or scolding them. We assume that children are supposed to listen to us, but its also the parents who have to listen to the children. The parents should understand that different people have different perceptions, even though they maybe related. Parents should learn to trust their children’s perceptions and think from their point of view. That is known as empathetic listening. Most of us grew up, with our feelings denied and as parents, they shouldn’t avoid the child’s emotions. When feelings are denied they often lead to hostile behaviour on the parent and the child’s part. Children need to be acknowledge no matter what they are feeling. In case of children, parents have to acknowledge and recognize their feelings first. Children feel respected once their feelings are validated.
When one is dealing with their children emotions such as compassion is required at all times. I feel that children need to get in touch with their inner reality. As a counsellor, I would give the feelings a name, for it to sound more authenticated. With children one does not have to empathize but when children are expressing their feelings, I think we should respect them by listening to them. Listening with the intent to understand. By accepting what a child feels the parents, or counsellors can set limits on his behaviour.
Children require terms, or names for what they are feeling and the ability to express that feeling to someone who cares enough to listen attentively. First the parents have to identify the feelings, then give a name to that feeling, Parents should allow their children to express their feelings and allow their children to cope with them effectively. Parents can make some encouraging statements and paraphrase their children’s feelings just to be sure they are on the same page.
Children should not be asked the question why, because many a time they do not know why they are feeling in a particular way. Some times they may be reluctant to say the reason. When I was a child, I would refuse to share my feelings simply because I thought that my parents would not find a big deal in it. Recognition is crucial, to the experience in general, is always appreciated by children. I think, and I know its very difficult for me, giving children advice is taking away from their own mental experience. We have to let them figure out their own problems, otherwise it wont help grow as individuals. If a child wants something, he/she desires it, instead of explaining and logically telling them why they can’t have it, the parents should try to play along with the fantasy of the child.
I feel everyone should be heard, and respected which requires attentive listening. Everyone has a voice of opinion.
About The Expert:
Tara Sheth is our Expert at Brainsmith. She is currently pursuing Masters in Education with a specialisation in Child Psychology from Columbia University, New York City, United States. Previously she has worked as a per-primary teacher and she loves children and is enthusiastic to work with them.