How can I tune into my children's feelings, thoughts and needs?

One of the most important jobs a parent has is to assist our children to 'regulate' or cope with strong feelings and emotions. This becomes even more important when children have been through difficult or traumatic experiences, such as parental separation, or family violence for example. Children can be left feeling they are not special or loved, and this may lead them to become easily overwhelmed with feelings of fear, anger and shame. Some children may work hard to avoid connecting to difficult feelings. When this has happened, kids need a supportive, caring adult to connect with them and help them work through their issues.

However, this can only happen if that adult is 'in tune' with their child. Being 'in tune' or connected may include:-

* lots of eye contact and a calm voice

* being able to read your child's mood and feelings

* understanding and empathizing with what your child may be going through

* focussing on what your child needs from you right now

* being interested and curious about what's happening, without judging your child's behaviour or correcting her/his view of things.

There are many benefits to your child over time, where you manage to consistently respond in this way over time. These include:-

* helping your child to better cope with and manage impulses and strong feelings

* assisting your child to develop his/her own values, sense of morality and empathy for others

* building in your child a stronger sense of who s/he is

* helping your child to better manage stress

* assisting your child to better develop and maintain positive relationships with others

* enabling your child to feel more connected to and understood by important people in her/his life

* allowing your child to develop a sense of security, trust and hope.

Of course, another benefit of becoming really skillful at 'tuning in' to your kids is for you as a parent - to experience a more connected, close relationship with your child is one of the most rewarding experiences we can have!

Reference: "Tuning into Children's Thoughts, Feelings and Needs". Simon Holt.

 

 

 

 

 

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