We humans are social animals. We all need connection with others. And sometimes, when we are overwhelmed with feelings, relating “properly” gets hard to do, especially for young children. But opening your heart and your arms to the feelings that are overwhelming your child allows her to clear her mind, lets her to think and learn unhindered by emotional baggage, and builds an essential level of trust and closeness in the relationship between you.
I know from personal experience, and I bet that you do to, that the gift of caring attention has helped me let out feelings that were interfering with my ability to relate well to someone I cared about. Being thoughtfully listened to leaves me feeling connected and understood, especially after I have acted cranky or unkind. It’s a gift that strengthens relationships.
It saddens me to think about the many, many upset or hurt or frightened children who have been sent off to the solitary confinement of their rooms until they can behave “properly.” I know parents love their children, and they probably didn’t have any other way modeled for them growing up, but what a lost opportunity to nurture and support a precious child. That would be like my husband or my best friend telling me, “I have no intention of loving all of you. I only want to see the parts that work for me. Go away until you can be easy for me to deal with.”
Here’s how this change of perspective worked for a mother in one of my classes,
Listen: Five Simple Tools to Meet YourEveryday Parenting Challenges.