Parenting: Helping Children Deal with Their Feelings

The school’s mother circle had our first meeting for the year last Friday. We talked about children feelings (and mommies’ feeling as well 🙂 ). Our discussion was based on Chapter 1 of How to Talk so Kids Will Listen (by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish) and try to apply it based on Khalifah Method Parenting. It was a good sharing that I thought the need of sharing it here as well.

It has been our tendency to immediately react to the children issues or problems by addressing the ‘solution’ first before trying to understand the whole scenario. We don’t usually make any effort to really understand what is actually bugging them, but we offer solutions based on our ‘experience’ and assumptions. We keep forgetting to remind ourselves that our children are also individuals who have their own opinions, feelings and experience things differently as themselves.

In order for us to manage our children correctly, we should learn to manage their feelings accordingly. Being able to manage their feelings, will help us a lot in managing their life. How can we learn to manage them?

Listen to our children, acknowledge our children and their feelings. Do not shut them immediately when they express or wanting to share their opinions with us. Listen to them. Identify what distract us from listening and responding to them the correct manner. What makes us ‘so busy’ and occupied that we couldn’t take time off to listen to our children issues? Yes, sometimes children would just voice out their issues at not an appropriate time, while we were driving, cooking and doing some other chores. But please don’t just shut them immediately. Explain to them ‘I want to hear your problem, but can we talk about it later as I have to finish what I’m currently doing? If I forgot, could you please remind me?’ And, yes, please come back to them. Start treating them as one of an important individual that you have to give your time like other individuals.

Don’t immediately deny our children feeling. Out of habit, we will always deny our children feeling before we really listen to their issues and try to understand the issues. Just as simple as :

“I don’t like my sister.” Our ‘defensive’motherly insticnt would reply “You shouldn’t said that. She is your sister.”

We should learn to Ăşnderstand why our children say it in the first place. Would it be just a one-off occasion, or just want to grab our attention or perhaps just in need of a pair of ears to just listen to them? By denying their feelings immediately, we might start an argument with them or they decided not to share their feelings and shut us off immediately.

Being an adult, we should show empathy. Children with empathy will grow up in a very positive and healthy environment and able to understand things and situation better. Children with empathy have higher tolerance with others as compared to those who have none. They would be able to figure out the solutions in most issues as they understand why people react and respond in certain manners.

When listening to children’s problem, give names to their feelings. Just feed them with vocabularies that describe their current emotions so they would understand their own feelings and put the right words in the right context. One can feel so down and stressed out, but one must need to identify was it because of the anger, frustration, upset or just a mellow feeling because of the ‘weather’. Anger might have a lot different level of anger, anger because of betrayals, or feeling upset or many others. Some words might be to ‘bombastic’ and ‘high end for the children, Just feed them when appropriate. Don’t be scared for they would learn better when they understand when to use it at the right time.

Put what has been outlined in Khalifah Method in practice in order to help our children to deal with their feelings:

  1. Incalculate love in parenting
  2. Reinforce the right values, rewards if necessary
  3. Be firm but kind

In helping children to cope with their issues, we can help them understand better by being creative such us describing the whole scenario (visual socialize) and what to expect so they don’t think we are denying them when things happen not as expected, and we should always encourage them to depend on Allah, He gives (or don’t) what’s best for our own benefits.

Mommies, never put our children’s frustration as your frustration. Everything that they are going through is part of their learning in living their life. Love them, truly! Love them much!!! 

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