Why Don’t They Talk to Me
Children need to be allowed to own and express their own feelings and perceptions. A Kindegarten student said, “When you ask me how I feel I’m the only one who can tell you. I like that!” Respect for a child’s feelings is respect for who the child is. When you dictate the feelings a child should have, you ask him to give up ownership of his personal internal experiences. He can’t do that unless he represses or pretends.
Respect Children’s Feelings
When my daughter, Carla, entered junior high school, she had to change schools. A few weeks later I ran into a friend whose son attended the school Carla attended. “Chris, how do you like school?” I asked. “I hate it.” “Oh Chris,” his mother responded, ” You don’t hate it. You really like it.” I looked at Chris. “Carla hates it, too,” I told him. Immediately, his sullen face lit up with a big smile. It feels good to have your feelings validated.
Feelings Must Be Identified
How can you teach your child to manage feelings if he/she is not allowed to identify and own them? Feelings are not good or bad. They just are. How we manage them can be good or bad.