Variations around the validation of feelings…
As we have already said, the general idea is to receive the other one’s feelings. In order to do that, there are good tips in the first chapter of How to talk so kids will listen...
However, one sometimes faces situations in which it is difficult to apply these methods. Here we cover a few variations in expressing and listening to feelings, and it helps to have thought about them beforehand.
When the parent can no longer listen, because nothing helps, there is no end to the expression…
« I hear you. You tell me that… And you think that… I understand, but unfortunately I can’t listen to you anymore. I’m going to prepare the meal, and at the same time, I’ll know how you’re disappointed/upset… »
If the expression of feelings is too offensive or insulting…
« This is not acceptable. I know you’re upset, but we have to find another way to express it. You’re off limits. »
Sometimes a little pampering can help.
« You feel unloved, that has to be unpleasant, I think it’s the right time for a hug and a hot chocolate… »
Switch to creative expression. That was already suggested in How to talk so kids will listen… and I already tried successfully.
Another way to put that in practice: it can come from the parent. Facing a very angry child (angry towards someone else than the parent), the parent can just write what the child said, helping to get his/her anger out, and take distance from it.
Sometimes, the child does not need someone to listen, he just needs to be left alone. That also needs to be respected.
Then there the point where the child will need a message of strength, of confidence, facing a situation that can’t be changed.
« Life is hard, but I know that you can face it. I saw how you reacted to… You know that in our family, our values are… We would like things to be different, but we’re going to face what they are the best we can. »