If a child feels right; they will behave right, so getting in touch with how your child feels and giving them a sense of being understood and listened to will result in much less conflict.
The more attention you give; the less they demand; and yet a child needs only 8 minutes a day of 1:1 time with you; can you afford not to give it? This connecting in with your child means you can acknowledge how they feel and your acceptance of their feeling is all they need often in giving them a sense of being listened to and respected. You may not have to agree with everything they say ; but when you give them a chance to express their feelings; they feel heard and validated.
When a child feels its unsafe to express their feelings; they will suppress
When you fail to do this and your response is ‘Ah, you’ll be grand, go on’ they may feel it is unsafe to say how they feel or that their feelings are dismissed.
Family Relationships & Feelings
Feelings do not disappear however; the child only learns to supress and repress how they feel in a family where there is a ban on emotional expression. However, these feeling will reappear in a number of different ways:
- Out of the blue outbursts
- Drinking to block negative feelings
- Drug use to numb bad feelings
- Self Harming behaviours ie Anorexia/Bulimia/Cutting oneself
Children need parents who are in touch with their own feelings, who express how they feel and who teach (particularly boys) an emotional vocabulary ” I feel sad when.. and I need to go for a walk, and when I do that I feel better. This role modelling means that children know thaat having negative feelings is normal, yet they know what they need to do to feel better.
Ensure your communication is Direct & Clear
When I am in touch with how I feel, my communication with my children is more real and authentic and l am likely to say “I love you and do not want to raise my voice with you; I need you to turn the TV off”. Children respond better to this approach and respect that the parent is trying to stay in control of their behaviour and over time will mirror that back to the parent.
The main problem with childrens’ behaviours is how parents interact with them
Many of our childrens feelings are around not feeling loved enough or needing more attention – therefore the response needs always to be of of kindness and compassion and to encourage our childs expression of their feelings. If experiencing temper tantrums with a child; do not reward the tantrum with attention, ”when you calm down,I can talk to you” however as soon as its over give attention to the feeling of the child “whats up honey? I see you’re upset; but I need you to say it in words; not actions; as that behaviour is not acceptable”