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Our Parenting Alphabet




As caregivers, we naturally want our children to feel better, or to quickly get over what is causing them to be upset. Of course we do. We want to reduce the discomfort that both ourselves and the child feel.


Communicating this 'feel better', however, could inadvertently communicate to our child in the moment that we don't accept, hear or validate how they feel. A child who has their big emotions brushed off or minimised by well meaning adults, may then subconsciously 'ramp up' the behaviour in a bid to be heard and understood.


"They aren't hearing me, so I must be louder!"


Acceptance in care giving, then, means accepting and validating the young person's point of view as a first step in the process. Whatever the reality we see as adults, this is the child's experience right now, and whilst we may not agree with this, we can accept it.



So, what can we do to help?



Instead of ;


Come on, don't be silly


Calm down


That's not true!


Stop it


Walking away




Try;


I can see that this has really upset you


He hurt your feelings


Things seem really unfair right now


That makes sense



This is a big feeling...what might it be called?



When we feel validated, our defences drop and our regulation increases. Thinking 'A for Acceptance' when our young people have big feelings, can actually reduce the time they remain in a dysregulated state and lessen the likelihood of conflict and escalation. This is because their experience is validated, and they feel heard. They have got their message across successfully. The nervous system can rest.


From this point, we can then of course move onto things like problem solving, and begin to be curious with our child about ways to do things differently next time, but we must accept and validate first.


After all, what helps you when you feel upset? Being told to calm down, or being listened to?


Thanks for reading



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