EMPTYING THE PSYCHOLOGICAL TRASH
Five Minutes a Day with Your Child
I have met several very insightful and accomplished people through Twitter. Some tweets have glittered, in a sense, and led to vibrant uplifting exchanges. I have invited some of these people to write a guest blog. Here is a contribution by Ava Parnass which offers value and inspiration.
A guest blog by Ava Parnass
Do I really have to teach my children Feelings? Yes! Here’s why.
One of our job as parents is to be detectives to help children figure out what happened during their time with us or away from us and to name the feelings. The important thing to know about children is that there is a direct relationship between how a child feels inside and how they act. When they feel good, they cooperate and behave. When something is bothering them and they don’t know what it is or can’t express it, it manifests in misbehaving or overeating or a variety of other symptoms.
If you don’t empty the trash on your computer, eventually it will crash. Kids and grown-ups are the same way. If we don’t get to express (talk about) how we feel, the emotions build and build until they cause a meltdown. It takes more and more energy to repress the feelings beneath the surface. (Long term Repression of feelings leads to all kinds of emotional problems, including addictions ,overeating, depression anxiety etc)
It may appear that some children are “Teflon kids,” because upsets seem to bounce right off of them. But the rising statistics on obesity, drug use, mental health disorders, bullying, sexting, suggests our kids are not made of Teflon. The fact is, they can only repress and deny everything that bothers them until the body or the mind eventually rebel.
Whether it’s one meltdown after another, or one repression after another, these ingrained patterns lead to a lifetime of pathology. Emptying the psychological trash means talking about things daily. Here are some things parents can do. Start teaching emotions when your child is one year old or start right now at whatever age your child is that you are reading this.
Start early using pictures that show emotions and when you say goodbye or put them to sleep or see they are upset. Parents need to be really good detectives to figure out daily and guess what is the matter and acknowledge it. Don’t forget to also talk about what feels good and how it feels to be appreciated.
Be on the lookout for subtle signs such as body language that communicate relief and acknowledgement when you guess the correct feelings. Start with these basic concepts. It’s never just one feeling that causes a behavioral problem. Your child may not be able to articulate their feelings fully or at all at this point but you are laying the grounds for emotional health.
Kids miss their grown-ups daily even if you are with them and especially if you travel and work late. Children just seem to adjust well to having less time with you.
In addition kids’ feelings get hurt easily by things we say and do and are disappointed and frustrated daily. Don’t forget to use research based Positive Parenting techniques.
Most parents think they can have it all — and do it all well. The rise in obesity and psychiatric numbers shows us that our kids are suffering because their needs are not being met. Year after year I see kids whose parents are simply not spending enough quality time with them, who don’t understand the impact it will have when the kids become teens. Common senses and Research shows spending more time playing with your kids at all ages including active and imaginary free play will lead to more successful grown kids.
When they get a little older and are more verbal you can play this question game by asking any or all of this series of questions:
“What did you like about today?”
“What made you feel good today?”
“What hurt your feelings?”
“Who did you miss today?”
Just accept your kids’ responses by saying “Thanks for telling me.” “I’m sorry that happened.” “Did that hurt your feelings?” “That’s interesting.” or “How should we solve this problem?”
Here are some questions you can ask:
“Do you feel like it’s hard to say goodbye or goodnight?”
“Do you feel like it’s hard to leave me?”
“Do you feel like we had enough time together today?”
“Is it hard to stop having fun and go to sleep?”
“Did something happen today that’s on your mind or that hurt your feelings?”
Give choices of things that may have gone wrong; that they really don’t know (such as when your friend took your toy; when I made a face, when we had to stop playing when the phone range, when you asked me to play and I said no because I had to go to work.)
I urge and highly recommend that parents consult with a child expert once a month and try to create your own classroom for your families well being. Teaching social emotional skills correctly requires a lot of skill and training. If you find your kids are constantly not listening to you or misbehaving, assume you are not listening well to them or addressing correctly how they feel. It’s in everyone’s best interest to ask for help!
The key to success is early intervention. If parents devote even five minutes a day to their children’s emotional health using these techniques and Research-Based Parenting, the result will be positive changes in behavior and attitude.
Ava Parnass has created the company ListenToMePlease http://bit.ly/hHkKpm I know and understand that Parenting is rewarding yet can be really difficult, especially teaching social emotional skills. The books and songs I created (see Amazon “http://amzn.to/gYyvJo” http://amzn.to/gYyvJo ) are entirely devoted to helping parents have fun while teaching emotions and improving their child’s behavior—tantrums and or overeating etc.
Our products reflect the differences the way kids learn since we know that children learn how they feel through playing, talking, listening, reading, singing and dancing in different ways. We want to help parents achieve their goal of raising kind, loving, fun, emotionally aware and well behaved children.
Thank you Michael Sabbeth for this opportunity to guest blog. http://www.tatteredcover.com/event/michael-sabbeth-good-bad-difference . We both love having great rewarding conversation with kids. I find it one of the most fun things in the world