How to understand and acknowledge your child's feelings

RIE Parenting Expert Janet Lansbury shares advice for parents on how acknowledging your child's feelings can help them better understand what they are feeling and how to best acknowledge your child's feelings in order to prevent jumping to conclusions
How To Understand and Acknowledge Your Child's Feelings
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How to understand and acknowledge your child's feelings

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Acknowledging a child's feelings is one of the most important things we can do as parents. It helps our child to feel deeply understood for even their wildest fantasies and desires. It also gives words to their feelings so they can help them sort through all these confusing feelings that they have, especially in the toddler years. There's so much going on and it's much easier for them if we can say, "You seem really," I mean we don't like to jump to the conclusion of what they feel, so that's why to say something like "you seem" rather than "you're angry" or "you're afraid." "You seem worried about the dog. Are you worried about the dog?" instead of saying like, "Oh, that's just a dog. What's the matter with you? You don't have to be afraid of the dog." Or, "You're afraid of the dog, you're afraid of the dog." Instead of, it might be something else, you might be startled, something else. So it's helping the child to understand their feelings, it's helping you to understand their feelings and their point of view, because immediately it takes you into empathy when you've said these words out loud. It reminds you: Oh yeah, there' s another person with a whole different point of view. Also, it's very good for the child to just be able to feel acknowledged enough to move on and know that, okay, you understood what I wanted. I'm still not getting it, perhaps if it's wanting the ice cream cone and it's not time for that now; I'm not getting what I want but you know that I want it and it's okay that I want it and therefore I'm okay. For all of these reasons, acknowledgments are one of the most powerful tools we have as parents and, in fact, I believe that they're the key to your child's heart.

RIE Parenting Expert Janet Lansbury shares advice for parents on how acknowledging your child's feelings can help them better understand what they are feeling and how to best acknowledge your child's feelings in order to prevent jumping to conclusions

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Janet Lansbury

RIE Parenting Expert

Janet Lansbury is a parenting advisor, writer and teacher. She has served on the board of directors of Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) for over a decade, written childcare articles and been a frequent presenter at early childhood conferences. A former actress/model (Janet Julian), Janet found her true calling when she gave birth to her first child and sought guidance from renowned infant expert Magda Gerber. Inspired and mentored by Gerber in the early 1990s, Janet became a RIE Parent/Infant Guidance Class instructor and has since had the privilege of providing support and guidance to thousands of parents and caregivers throughout Los Angeles. Most recently, she has become a prolific and influential parenting blogger with a worldwide following.

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