Feeling Words and Expressions
If you came from a family where you were not allowed to express your true feelings, you may not even be aware of the range of feelings that are normal and experienced every day. In communication with your family you may find yourself overusing the old stand by’s of “Mad, Sad and Happy.”
Communication based on mutual respect
Mutual respect means that children and parents allow each other to express their beliefs and feelings honestly and without fear of rejection. You may not agree with what is being shared, but you do agree they have the right to their feelings.
No Shame or Blame
When we start a conversation by saying “You always…” or “You never…” the other person automatically puts up defenses. Instead in using a statement on how the behavior makes you feel, you will not be laying blame and the child is more likely to listen. In most cases, it is not the behavior that is frustrating you but the possible consequences it will produce for you.
Use “I” Statements
So instead of blaming a child, you might say, “When I see toys all over the living room, after I have asked you to pick them up, I feel like I am not being heard and it hurts my feelings.Because the toys are still here, we have two choices, either you pick them up or I will pick them up and put them away for a day.” A simple formula is stating;
- When (behavior)
- I feel (feeling)
- because (state the consequence)
Tune into non-verbal clues
Verbal language is communication of information. Nonverbal language is communication of relationships. Watch for clues on how your child is really feeling. Acknowledging these clues allows the child to express his feelings. For instance: “when you roll your eyes that way, I think you don’t agree, is that right?” “Your frown tells me you are concerned about something. Want to talk about it?”
Words reflecting “upset” feelings
Children need to understand that there are many varying degrees of upset feelings. Some such examples are: abandoned, accused, angry, anxious, bored, defeated, difficult, disappointed, discouraged, disgusted, disrespected, doubt, embarrassed, frightened, frustrated, guilty, hate, hopeless, hurt inadequate, incapable, left out, miserable, put down, rejected, sad, stupid, unfair, unhappy, unloved, worried, worthless.
Words reflecting “happy” feelings
Just as there are varying degrees of upset feelings, there are just as many different words to describe happy emotions, such as accepted, amused, appreciated, better, capable, comfortable, confident, encouraged, enjoy, excited, glad, good grateful, great, happy, joyful, love, pleased, proud, relieved, respected, satisfied, silly.
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