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How To Get Children To Open Up

... The Correct and Incorrect Way

In this article I will be sharing with you some tips on how best to educate children on the assumption that children learn from what they experience. This should be a guiding principle for interacting with children.

Let’s start with how we unintentionally damage a child’s self-esteem. Though unintentional these are a few harmful methods used to modify a child’s behaviour;

  • Judging
  • Mocking (shaming them by calling attention to certain behaviour therefore embarrassing them)
  • Lying  (even if they are only ‘white’ lies)

Most people do not intentionally set out to hurt children but often parents or care-givers do, not out of malice but due to lack of awareness or their own unconscious emotional problems.

Children have the inalienable right to acknowledge and to express their feelings of anger or pain. Aggressive behaviour indicates an unexpressed discomfort and it must be the role of the parent or adult to understand or intuit what the child is experiencing.

The discomfort may be a jealousy or feelings of anger if they feel that they have been treated unfairly. This often occurs in small children because they are very sensitive to their environment and the people with whom they interact.

Young children need help to learn how to express their emotions with words rather than with actions.

Parents should learn to allow their children to define their feelings, a method which can be used to help them define their emotions is by asking them questions or making statements  which validate their sentiments. Questions such as;

"I know you're angry because ...."

"What is bothering you?”  or

“What is happening with you?" and continue with

“What would make you feel better?"

This way of relating to a child helps the child to express their emotions and helps one discover that you can interact and communicate with them in many ways. These are just a few tips which I hope you will find useful. If you need clarification I am available to answer some questions.

 

Published on behalf of Silvia Gallina

(Psychologist)

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