By Grace Kim, Resident In Counseling in Northern Virginia
The relationship between each parent and child is a very personal and private matter. Learning effective communication skills can change the way parents treat their children. Firstly, it is important to help children deal with their feelings. In order to do this, recognize that there is a direct connection between how kids feel and how they behave. When kids feel right, they’ll behave right. How do we help them feel right? By accepting their feelings! The problem is parents have a hard time accepting their children’s feelings. For example: “You don’t really feel that way.” “There’s no reason to be so upset.”
Consistent denial of feelings can confuse and enrage children. It also teaches them to not recognize their feelings and to not trust them. Instead of doing this, try putting yourself into your child’s shoes and ask yourself, “If I were a child who was tired, or angry or bored? And I wanted that all-knowing grown-up in my life to know what I was feeling…?” When parents tune in to what their children might be experiencing, it not only helps with executing the technique—it helps them to truly mean it when they say, “So you’re still feeling tired—even though you just napped.” Or, “I’m cold, but for you it’s hot in here.” The words to say to children will come naturally once you put yourself in their shoes and really tune in to how you think they feel in those situations.
To Help With Feelings:
- Listen and give them your undivided attention
- Acknowledge their feelings by saying, “Oh”… “I see… “I hear you.”
- Give their feelings a name/identity
- Give them their wishes in fantasy
About Grace Kim:
Grace Kim is a Resident in Counseling providing services at the Woodbridge location and is a Qualified Mental Health Professional for Children (QMHP-C) and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). Grace received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University and her Master of Arts Degree with high honors in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from South University.
With extensive experience in providing outpatient counseling services to children, adolescents and young adults, she also has sufficient experience working with adult clients with longstanding substance abuse issues. She is an individual who has had her own share of mental health challenges and with the help of those around her, she has been able to overcome obstacles and barriers in her life. Grace believes she is still growing, learning and in some ways, healing and wants to work with individuals to provide the hope and support she was given in her darkest times. Grace recognizes the barriers and restrictions that minority cultures often face when dealing with mental health issues. It is Grace’s passion to work with such individuals of various minority backgrounds to confront these challenges and experience breakthrough and acceptance. Grace is ready and willing to work with you or your child to explore any latent issues and improve your daily functioning in a healthy way. To learn more about Grace, visit HERE.