I talk a lot about feelings. As a mediator, naming and acknowledging a client’s feelings around the conflict is often the first step towards resolution. My Connection Centered Discipline Nanny Certification class shows nannies how to teach kids a feeling vocabulary and offers lots of tips on how to validate a child’s feelings during challenging situations. Again, that’s often the first step towards resolving the issue. Turns out that the needs of kids and adults aren’t all that different. When someone lets us know that what we’re feeling is OK, that they’ll be there with us as we figure things out, we feel better and then we’re able to make better choices. I’ve found that talking about feelings, both mine and those of the kids I care for, is one of the most powerful tools I have in my nanny toolbox.
Now don’t think just because I’m a feelings kind of person that I’m not a strong boundaries and limits kind of person. That’s the magic of the Positive Discipline approach: you can be both. You can connect with kids in a meaningful way, you can validate how they feel and what they’re going through and AT THE SAME TIME, you can set and keep practical, real world limits. You stay sane and your child learns a bevy of life skills that help him develop into a happy and emotionally healthy adult.
Here’s a great article by Dr. Laura Markham of Aha! Parenting. She outlines how to help kids control their emotions. It’s no surprise that the key to controlling emotions is naming, validating, and working with, not against, those emotions.