The new year is a great time to start fresh, and establish new patterns! The following ideas are from How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Although this book was written nearly 40 years ago, it’s still commonly referenced and recommended by teachers and parents.
Faber writes that she was a wonderful parent before she had children. She was “an expert on why everyone else was having problems with theirs” - until she had three herself. She decided to join a parenting group, and attended a lecture on children’s feelings from a young psychologist, Dr. Haim Ginott.
The lecture discussed a few key points:
Sometimes, however, it is difficult to accept a child’s feelings. Some examples of this are saying things like ”you don’t really feel that way”, ”you’re just saying that because you’re tired”, or ”there’s no reason to be so upset”. A steady denial of children’s feelings can confuse and upset them. It teaches children to not know, or trust, their feelings.
The author decides to try and put herself in her children’s shoes, and empathize with what they’re feeling.
She thinks to herself, “Suppose I was a child who was tired or hot or bored? And suppose I wanted that all-important grown-up in my life to know what I was feeling...?” She was determined to try empathizing with her children’s concerns, and allowing them to have their own feelings. After all, Faber thinks, “We each felt what we felt.” Learning to accept her children’s feelings led to a much smoother home life!
TO HELP WITH FEELINGS
- Shannon Jansma, published in the January 2018 issue of the Ann Arbor Suzuki Institute newsletter