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Do you really know what your child is thinking and feeling?

How will you know how your child feels when the basis of assuming how they are feeling actually stems from your own?

By Arpita Bhandari

Most parents misread their children’s emotions. They tend to presume that they know how their kids are feeling either by their actions or their facial expressions in a given situation. But that’s not true. The truth is that parents are actually ‘clueless’ of their children’s feelings.

Are you projecting your own emotions?

How will you know how your child feels when the basis of assuming how they are feeling actually stems from your own? A child’s awareness of their thoughts and emotions are inferred from how you react and what you do. These thoughts develop when the child starts experiencing life, and in no time their mental capacity to think increases.

Example: When your child doesn’t like something and voices it, we as parents tend to tell them ‘No it’s not so bad, have it or try it’ very subtly pressurising our kids to follow. We fail to tap into how they are feeling about it.

“We as parents tend to see our children’s world from our own projections and perceptions rather than theirs.”

Children try to break through the barrier of communicating their feelings but when met with criticism, they become quiet and are discouraged from sharing their true feelings. As parents, we very unknowingly are constantly correcting our children. The pressure to perform and to behave is tremendous. We as parents like to believe that we know our kids well. Our mission as a parent is to mould them into being perfect human beings which leads us to becoming relentless many times. Our communication with our kids is based on either correcting their mistakes or constantly telling them what to do or talking about the possibilities of the future. This leaves the child feeling helpless, useless and low in confidence.

How to understand your child’s feelings?

Daily communication must be made a priority. The child should have the comfort of expressing their thoughts without any negative consequences. As parents, we need to be more attentive and aware of our child’s actions and reactions. The key to knowing and understanding your child’s emotional state needs patience. As a parent you need to pause, breathe, slow down and listen, let them be for that moment particularly when they are distressed, sad or angry. The child only wants to be heard at the time rather than being corrected or told what to do. You as a parent need to be around your child, showing some loving gestures, listening to them without interruptions. This reaction can do wonders.

There are constant internal thoughts or self conversations, traveling our minds when we are experiencing life. These thoughts give meaning to the event. Parents need to build a communication channel of their thoughts and mind battles with their children. This enables them to feel comfortable and deal with situations with more confidence when they are facing similar ordeal.

“If you as a parent demonstrate the skills of emoting and understanding, the child too will reflect the same behaviour.”

This will enable your child to feel worthy, loved, respected, valued and understood. The openness to listen will allow your child to trust you, and be their real self around you without having to suppress their thoughts and feelings. A door to build pure and everlasting bonds.

Be all ears to your child

Listening and empathising with your child can have an enormous impact than the usual time spent with your child in doing activities together. When you attentively listen to your child they feel understood, respected and valued, which can lead to building stronger relationships with them. A relationship which is open to discussion can result in your child feeling safe and secured without feeling judged. It allows the child to process their thoughts, which enables them to constantly be in touch with their true feelings and emotions. When you listen to your child, your child is more receptive to your guidance. The need within them to express with ease becomes a matter of fact. As parents, our responsibility to build healthy habits is of utmost importance. To develop the habit of the expression of emotions & listening skills are the key to live a healthy and harmonious life.

(The writer is Life Strategist, Transformational Facilitator for Parenting Skills, Self-Awakening & Relationships.)

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  • Posted on October 4, 2020