Connecting with children on an emotional level vastly increases the likelihood of them cooperating with us and wanting to do as we ask.
It is therefore essential that we listen and validate our children’s feelings by practising empathy in order to connect with them and build lasting trust.
Connecting with our children in this way will help them learn how to deal with unpleasant or challenging emotions so that they grow to trust themselves and their reactions in the long-term. It will also help them learn how to self-regulate their emotions.
How to build trust and connection:
Be truly present
Giving undivided attention helps build a strong sense of trust and connection between parent and child, so schedule in regular special one-on-one time with each child.
Allow children to express themselves
Particularly when they are faced with difficult or challenging emotions having their feelings heard and accepted is an essential part of children learning how to trust their emotions and self-regulate.
Acknowledge your child’s perspective
Helping them to name what they are feeling enables them to ‘own’ their emotions, which makes them better equipped to control and regulate their emotions in the long-term.
Don’t try to fix problems straightaway
When a child comes to us with a problem, it’s important that we try to avoid swooping in with reassurances or try to fix the problem for them as this can make them feel that their feelings are discounted.
Try to ‘hear’ the hidden messages behind what your child is saying
When they do start to open up, don’t interrupt them and refrain from judgement.
Do not give in to whining or nagging behaviour
This will just reinforce this behaviour. Avoid getting sucked into an argument and doing too much explaining by using an empathetic statement such as ‘I know’ to diffuse the situation instead.
- This exert is from The Working Parent’s Guide to Raising Happy and Confident Children by Nadim Saad. You can buy it on Amazon.