Connecting With Your Children’s Feelings Ensures a Healthy Upbringing

Most children are yelled at, spanked, and punished just for showing their feelings. Here are some valuable tips from Corporación Cariño to be more empathetic parents.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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Empathy has two essential components: Understanding and care. Most importantly, it has to be genuine. Sometimes parents aren't patient with their toddlers and expect them to act like older children.

How To Be a Better Parent?

To promote healthy parenting, Corporación Cariño encourages parents to answer these questions:

-How would you like to be treated when you are feeling sad?

-How would you like them to react when they see you frustrated?

-How would you like your family to treat you when you are going through a challenging time?

According to the NGO, the most common responses would be:

-I would like to be understood.

-I would like them to give me space.

-I would like them to respect me and validate my feelings.

-I would like them to hug me and worry about me.

-I would like to be listened to and get some advice.

However, how do some parents act when a child shows anger, sadness, or frustration? Most children don't receive hugs, empathy, or listening. Instead, kids get punished just for expressing their feelings. It's important to understand that they have feelings just like us.


Healthy Parenting

Here are some things you can start doing to be a more empathetic parent to them:

-Hug your child.

-Listen and accompany them when they are going through a difficult moment.

-Understand and validate their emotions.

-Respect them.

As Corporación Cariño highlights, it's essential to create empathic girls and boys that don't need to recover from their childhood when becoming adults. What you give your children is the same they will give society when they grow up.

Become a Role Model at Home

Kids can learn a lot of empathy from you. According to Dr. Paul Jenkins, a good starting point is a rich vocabulary. For example, teaching your kid the difference between anger and frustration is crucial. Also, showing them new words such as melancholy, blue, down, or disappointment will help them describe their feelings. 

As Dr. Jenkins points out: "Empathy is understanding and caring how someone else feels."

To go along with their vocabulary of emotions, you sometimes have to teach the different body language and facial expressions that go with those words. Reading someone's facial expression is an essential skill that will be very important in their lives.

You can tell them: When you're surprised, your eyebrows go up, and sometimes your mouth goes into an "O." If you're happy, you smile. If you're disappointed, a lot of times, your chin goes down. Talk with them about the different facial features that are happening in the body language.

You can read with them an illustrated book and point out the characters' facial expressions according to what they are feeling at that moment. Dr. Jenkins claims, "your example is huge, and the more you can model or be an example of empathy, the easier time you're going to have to teach this to you children."

Discipline techniques can't be left behind. Next time try to replace anger with empathy. Connect with your kid's feelings and let them know that you are there to listen, understand, and love them.

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