When you follow these steps, you foster a positive relationship with your children. They will trust you because they know you care about them. Furthermore, you help them understand their feelings, which will in turn help them develop good coping mechanisms.
Listen with full attention.
Think about when you’re upset or hurting—how would you want others to respond? If someone were to give you advice, pity, or worse still, if they were to tell you that your feelings were invalid, you wouldn’t feel any better. You wouldn’t even feel like talking to that person any longer!
Your kids feel the same way you do. When they express emotion, all they need is for someone to listen.
Acknowledge their feelings with a word.
For example, you could say, “Oh,” or “Mmm,” or “I see.” Validate your children’s feelings and keep up a caring attitude. No matter what they are feeling, be sure to accept it.
Give their feelings a name.
Help your children understand what they feel. Are they upset, embarrassed, tired, or feeling something else entirely?
Don’t worry if you name their feeling incorrectly—keep trying until you get it!
Give them their wishes in a fantasy.
For example, tell them, “I wish I had the magic power to ___,” and fill in the blank with what they want.