“”Our Children NEED to feel that we see them, that we understand them, and that they matter. – Sarah Rosensweet
When children don’t feel seen, heard and that they matter, there can be short-term effects (behaviour) and long-term effects (self-worth).
Children who don’t feel seen might act out to ensure that we pay attention to them and that we can take care of them. Too busy taking care of the baby? Peeing in the laundry basket might be a good bid for attention. (One of my sons did this!) Or they might not act up but they might conclude that they aren’t important.
Let them know that you see them by delighting in your child. It’s as simple as eye contact and a smile. Let the love you feel in your heart show on your face. Children first see themselves through our eyes.
Children who don’t feel understood might either turn up the volume (tantrums!) in an effort to be ‘heard’ or withdraw and give up. This can lead to feeling alone and a chip on their shoulder. They can also learn to not trust their own feelings if we don’t acknowledge them, leading to low self-confidence.
Let them know that you understand by acknowledging their feelings and point of view. Empathy and kindness are ALWAYS possible, even when you don’t agree or they’re acting out.
Children who don’t feel like they matter can develop low-self worth. They learn to value themselves as we value them.
Let them know that they matter by giving them your full attention whenever you can. Listen to their stories without checking your phone. Take some time every day, even a few minutes, to play and laugh with them. When children feel they matter, they develop a healthy and strong sense of self-worth.
Sarah Rosensweet is a certified peaceful parenting coach, speaker, and educator. She lives in Toronto with her husband and three big kids (ages 13, 16, and 20). Peaceful parenting is a non-punitive, connection-based approach that uses firm limits with lots of empathy. Sarah works one-on-one virtually with parents all over the world to help them go from frustrated and overwhelmed to, “We’ve got this!”
Read more at: www.sarahrosensweet.com