When children feel heard and understood they are more likely to talk to you about how they are feeling. It is helpful to summarize what you are hearing them say back to them to ensure you are fully understanding the what they are going through, “I can see you are frustrated by that.” Help them name the emotions they are experiencing, so they can process the situation.
Avoid Minimizing Their Issues
Show your child that you value what they are going through. Sometimes an issue that may seem small from an adult perspective is a big deal to a child or teenager. Avoid telling your child their situation is not important or they are overreacting. Instead, ask them why the issue is important. Help them plan how to resolve the issue by looking at the good and bad of the situation.
Honor your child’s strengths and help them through the challenges they will face. Help them to understand that each person has their own abilities that make them unique. Avoid comparing them to their siblings or friends. Saying their sibling did not have this problem can cause your child to shut down and feel resentful. Rather, focus on the unique characteristics they have.
Model and Teach Looking at A Situation From Different Perspectives
Teaching children to look at the perspectives of others is a skill that is important for friendships and working with others. Ask your child “How do you think that made them feel?” “What does their face/body show you about how they are feeling?” “What do you think could make things better?”
Know How You Will Respond
There may be situations where you regularly battle with your child. If you know your child regularly acts a certain way about an issue, plan your response. Determine how you and your child will remain calm and not make the situation worse by creating IF-THEN plans together with your child.