3 Ways to Make Your Child More Emotionally Honest
A child’s first teacher is their parent. How you, as a parent, conduct yourself in front of your child especially reflects on how they become emotionally intelligent later in their life.
Parent-child communication is a key factor in getting your child to open up about their feelings, trust you, and believe that you’re there for them no matter what. It is important to keep the channel for communication open, children mostly want their parents to listen to them and understand them.
Below are 3 ways that can help you make your child more emotionally honest. Remember, it is important to be honest, open, and compassionate with your child if you want them to be able to share things with you.
1- Show That You Are Listening
When your child is in a bind or feeling emotionally unwell, your first reaction to seeing them distressed might be showing overt concern, which can make them feel a little suffocated. Rather when they decide to share even a snippet of their day, listen intently. There is a likelihood that you will find what has been bothering them.
A great way to show that you are actively listening to them would be by asking intricate details of the account they are sharing. Non-verbal cues encourage the child to open up about their feelings. Nod, touch their shoulder lightly or smile.
2- Be Careful of What You Say
If your child is opening up to you or sharing how they feel, already you should feel relieved that you’ve been able to reach that point with them. Now comes the obstacle of words that can shut them down.
Try to steer clear of judgment when they tell you why they did something or invalidate their emotions by saying ‘You have it easy’ ‘Be grateful’ ‘It doesn’t sound that bad’. The child can feel like you don’t understand them and feel resentful that you don’t.
It can drive them away from being emotionally honest with you as they might feel you don’t share their hurt or sadness.
3- Build a Daily Rapport
Make sure to communicate with your child every day. Even if it is 15 to 20 minutes of what they did throughout the day. Choose a time when the child isn’t too tired, taking their downtime or getting ready to go somewhere.
Remember, as much as you expect them to share what goes on in their lives, how they feel, you will have to do the same. Sitting at the dinner table discussing something that happened with you in the day, this shows openness and your willingness to share as much as theirs.
However, do be mindful of the parent-child boundary.
Your end goal with this conduct should be a source of comfort for the child and someone they can come to at their time of need. Emotional honesty requires your trust in the child as much as your expectation of theirs. These strategies can be difficult at the start, but they become more natural as you get used to your children talking to you.