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Being an Emotional Healer with Children

December 14, 2010
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What the Experts Say…

“When children feel understood, their loneliness and hurt diminish. When children are understood, their love for their parents is deepened. A parent’s sympathy serves as an emotional first aid for bruised feelings.” From Dr. Haim G. Ginott, child psychologist.

In Other Words…

Just like a physical cut that is ignored can get infected, so can the emotional injuries that children suffer get infected with resentment and loneliness. When we stop and take time to apply first aid to the wound, it often heals quicker and hurts less. When children are having strong feelings, such as loneliness, hurt, or fear, they have a hard time listening and solving problems. When a parent stops to acknowledge what the child is feeling and help the child feel like these feelings are normal and acceptable, it helps the child deal with the emotions and solves problems.

How This Applies to You…

When children feel like they are not being understood or that you don’t care about their feelings they will often hold onto those feelings more tightly, but when they know that you understand how they feel, they can better handle their emotions. When your child is upset, try showing that you understand. Maybe you would use statements like: “You’re really disappointed. You’re made about that. I can see that you are sad.”

To Find Out More…

For an excellent program on parenting, see The Parenting Journey at Arkansas Families and if you have children less than 5 years of age, check out See the World Through My Eyes.

For more on parenting, we recommend Between Parent and Child by Dr. Haim Ginott.

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