This chapter builds on what the initial book said: it is important to welcome and validate the child’s feelings to open the discussion.
A theory thus seen already in the first chapter of How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk , and also in Liberated Parents, liberated children.
As a reminder, the different techniques presented are:
Listen with attention
Acknowledge with a word
Give the feeling a name
Give the child his wishes in fantasy
Sometimes, particularly in the case of the teenager, we may need to redirect behavior, remind the core values, at the same time as we receive the feelings.
Teens are going through a difficult transition, and we sometimes we naturally try to reject negative feelings. But we can help them through our listening.
Let’s try to put into words what we think our teenager feels.
We can also share our opinions, but there is a time for everything, we first need to tell our child that he has been heard.
I will only share here one example from the book, which, against the odds, helped me later in a similar situation…
Facing her son who realizes he has an uncompleted assignment due the next day, the mother makes comments like « don’t tell me you haven’t done it! -This is what happens when you don’t plan! « , and the teen closes completely… Instead, another scenario is offered: one where the mother only listens and acknowledges with a word, and we see the teen going on and commenting that he should have planned to begin earlier…