“To give vent now and then to his feelings, whether of pleasure or discontent, is a great ease to a man’s heart”. ~Francesco Guicciardini
If you think all that hugs and kisses, cuddling and skin –to-skin touch during his infant stages or being a toddler is sufficient to built that emotional bond between you and your child, then possibly you got it a little wrong being a parent. Connecting with your child is a conscious and continuous process. Even if you feel that your children can manage themselves well enough on their own, still they need you more than you think of.
Getting to the core
Growing up seems to be fun and entertaining for young ones, but it is confusing, tedious and frustrating also at the same time. Young children face a whole new world of different feelings that are developed and dealt with, being exposed to the whims of different social experiences.
Our little ones might not always know how to deal with a jumble of emotions like rejection, disappointment, happiness, anger, envy, dissatisfaction and many more such situations. Mostly, they look up to their parents help them dealing with the situation.
Basically, if we see it carefully, every emotion is a pent up energy which needs to be channelized in the right way. Locked up emotions could lead to various negative behaviors like depression, aggression, or repulsiveness etc. it is easier for adults to tackle with such problems, but young children get baffled up if they don’t get timely help from their parents, teachers or guardians.
What you can do to help your child deal with emotions?
• Talk often: sometimes, when you feel that your child is upset or sad having a fight with a friend or after losing a match, don’t expect that he/she would get better soon or will be happy again in no time. Instead you should try and talk it out with him/her. You should be very careful with the words you use before starting a conversation. Instead of asking, “Why are you upset?” or “what’s wrong with you?” try saying “you seem to be little sad/upset today. Would you like to talk about it?” These gentle words would help your child feel comfortable to start a conversation with you and talk about his/her problem. Just talking about the problem that makes him/her sad or upset would help him/her deal with the problematic situation better. Just remember that, by addressing the situation directly can make the child aggressive or repulsive at times.
• Don’t lose touch: Kisses, hugs and pats should be a daily custom. Don’t reserve them for your child’s achievements or big occasions. This physical bonding between a parent and child goes a long way to help him/her deal with emotions at later stages as well.
• Give enough space: Sometimes, child doesn’t want to talk about the issue that is bothering him/her. Though, it could be a matter of concern but it’s also alright to leave your child alone for a while, to deal with the situation. It’s very important that you respect your child’s space as that’s the foundation of building confidence to deal with his/her emotions. Probably when he/she feels better after a while, you can initiate the conversation gently.
• Acknowledge emotions: There are going to be times when parents do common mistake to bribe the child to be happy. Probably that’s the worst way to handle such situations. Instead try to reach to the core of the problem by simply talking to the child and also it is imperative to explain him/her that being happy or sad is an important part of life. Give those emotions a name. With younger ones, help them to understand whether they are happy, sad, hungry, afraid or just upset. With grown up children, acknowledge their emotions with specific names like embarrassment or disappointment etc. this makes it much easy for children to deal with the situation accordingly.
• Tell the importance of empathy: Once in a while, your child might think that this is the end of the world, talk and tell him/her that it happens to everyone. It’s more effective when you give examples from your own life or of someone else in the family. Tell your child about your mistakes or disappointments. Your child would learn more from you if you talk more openly with him/her, with examples.
How does acknowledging the emotions help?
• Better bonding between a parent and a child: Once you learn to help your child release the pent up emotions in a subtle way, you’ll notice that your child is calmer and also more receptive. This viable process of receptiveness makes the emotional bonding stronger between parent and a child.
• Initiates better co-operation: Parenting is never a one way process; it needs child’s participation too. But a child who has not got much attention for his/her parents when in need probably would not be willing to co-operate. Anger would further ruin the relationship. The only solution here is getting to the core of the problem, and talking more often about his/her emotions. Spending more time with your child can make him/her more co-operative.
• Transforms your child into a sensitive individual: Dealing patiently and carefully with your child’s emotions in his/her growing years helps him/her transform into a stable and sensitive individual.
• Opens new channels of communication: Today, this is the most common complaint of parents that their children don’t listen to them or don’t follow their instructions. The reason behind is ineffective manner of communication. Young children are very sensitive and receptive. If parents start communicating openly and effectively, this issue can be tackled much before it occurs. Talking to them and listening to their problems opens up the channel of communication and it helps children deal with their emotional struggle.
• Builds trust: Being a parent only doesn’t assure a strong relationship with your child. It takes a huge amount of time, commitment and dedication to build the trust. Letting your child learn to deal with emotions and helping to channelize the inner energies is an important part of building a trustworthy relationship between parent and child.