Accepting all feelings
As parents, it’s hard to see our child become upset over something that seems so trivial. Our first reaction might be to turn off the waterworks. After all, if we can get them to stop crying, they should perk up, right?
So, to reassure them it’s no big deal, we might say: “honey, there’s no need to get upset! Stop crying.
”Easier said than done if Sophie’s been given YOUR favorite yellow cup!
What we say doesn’t always get the response we’re hoping for. In this situation, asking a child to stop crying often comes across more like: “your feelings about this don’t matter, because I don’t see an issue here.
”It might make no sense to us — after all, why get worked up over the color of a cup of all things? But suppose you’ve had a seriously crappy day at work. You’ve come home and begun pouring your heart out to your partner on what happened. You’re expecting to be comforted — but instead, they reply: “it could’ve been worse! Just relax and re-do your presentation tomorrow.” Ok — they might have good intentions, but that wasn’t exactly helpful.
We get upset because we anticipated a different response. I mean, our partner could’ve said: “you lost all your progress? Oh honey, I can imagine you’re disappointed.”A response like this is so great because it makes us feel seen and understood by the people we love. It might be the words we need to hear to take a deep breath, pull ourselves together and give that daunting presentation another shot!
Guess what – this also works with kids! Children just have a different perspective on what is and isn’t significant to them. Like the color of their cup!
Next time, let’s try:
“I noticed you’re upset, and that’s ok! It’s ok to feel sad.”
You’d be surprised how easy those words take the sting off. Not just when your child is sad, either – you can apply this for any mood. Simply let your child experience their feelings – it’ll give you some well-needed relief and peace of mind. When your child can express how they feel, tantrums become a lot shorter, and your child has the confidence to express themselves and feel their emotions. This is an important skill they’ll carry with themselves for the rest of their lives!
️P.S. All feelings are valid, but certainly not all behavior is ok!
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