Write this word on your hand. It’s a magical way to connect with a child of any age, can ease tears and tantrums and even prevent them. It’s a simple but surprisingly challenging thing to do, particularly tough to remember in the heat the moment…
Before you tell your child that it’s time to leave the park, or remind him that the really cool truck he’s examining has to stay at the store, acknowledge his point of view. Acknowledge your child’s feelings and wishes, even if they seem ridiculous, irrational, self-centered or wrong. This is not the same as agreeing, and is definitely not indulgent or allowing an undesirable behavior.
Acknowledgement isn’t condoning our child’s actions; it’s validating the feelings behind them. It’s a simple, profound way to reflect our child’s experience and inner self. It demonstrates our understanding and acceptance. It sends a powerful, affirming message… Every thought, desire, feeling — every expression of your mind, body and heart — is perfectly acceptable, appropriate and lovable.
Acknowledging is simple, but it isn’t easy. It’s counter-intuitive for most of us, even when we’ve done it thousands of times. Won’t acknowledging our child’s wishes make matters worse? Won’t saying “I know how much you want an ice cream cone like the one your friend has and it does look yummy, but we won’t be having dessert until later” make our toddler hold on to the idea longer, cry harder? Wouldn’t it be better to dismiss or downplay the child’s feelings, distract, redirect or say:”Oh, sweetie, not now”?
Our fears about an honest acknowledgement of the situation “making things worse” are almost always unfounded. Feeling heard and understood allows children to release the feelings, let go and move on. Here are more reasons that acknowledging our child’s truth is worth the conscious effort it takes…
POSTED BY JANET LANSBURY ON NOV 14TH, 2011