I don’t claim to understand this exactly, but there is a strange power in helping your kids give a name to their feelings.
- This is NOT trying to solve their problem.
- This is NOT explaining how they should or shouldn’t react to a feeling.
- And this is NOT lecturing.
This is only finding the root of an emotion and identifying it.
“How do you feel? Oh, I see. I feel a fire in my chest sometimes too…What do you think about when you feel like that? Oh, yeah? Ahhh. I understand. I sometimes want to sit down and cry too. I think you might be sad…Is it ok if I sit with you for a little bit while we think about this?”
Simple as that.
What comfort there can be in simple understanding and care.
Of the four skills you’ve just seen illustrated, perhaps the most difficult is to have to listen to a child’s emotional outpourings and then “give a name to the feeling.” It takes practice and concentration to be able to look into and beyond what a child says in order to identify what he or she might be feeling. Yet it’s important that we give our children a vocabulary for their inner reality. Once they have the words for what they’re experiencing, they can begin to help themselves.
-Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (Amazon)