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Children usually think, see and feel the things around them from a different perspective. Looking at the world from their eyes, and learning to take cues can help you tune into their feelings and emotions.
Feelings and emotions are as natural to children, as they are to adults. The only difference probably is that as adults, we learn to comprehend what we are feeling, whereas for children, it is difficult to communicate the same. Learning to think like a child will help you to understand your little one’s feelings. Children whose emotions are handled supportively grow up to be confident human beings, and get to learn how to express themselves.
At his age, a preschooler would not see a situation from the same perspective as yours. For example, if you rebuke your older child for doing something inappropriate, your preschooler may think that he may too face the same level of consequences in future. For understanding a child, you first need to become a child yourself or remember the days when you were a child. This will give you cues and signals as to what your child is feeling and how to respond to situations.
Here are a few questions you must ask yourself before you step into a child’s shoes, and measure the intensity of their emotions:
- Which instances have influenced you the most as a child? Think about both negative and positive situations.
- How did your parents tackle your actions, feelings and emotions during your childhood?
- Were they supportive of your feelings? In what way?
- Were you were able to express yourself clearly and freely as a child?
- Which things you would have wanted your parents to change about their behavior towards you while you were growing up?
- Are you happy with your upbringing?
- Which of your childhood memories or experiences would you want to pass over to your child?
Ways to Learn to Understand your Child’s Feelings
- Remember that your preschooler is still in the growing up phase of life. To always expect logical actions or appropriate behaviour from him may not be the right thing to do.
- Children are also thoughtful individuals, who go through a myriad of emotions. Respect your child, his individuality and his feelings.
- Always pay careful attention to what your child is trying to communicate. Keep your eyes and ears open; let your parental instinct be the right judge to a situation.
- Understanding a child requires patience. It may not be always possible to know why he is upset or what is troubling him, but keep trying. You will get there!
- Like adults, children too need someone to lend a listening ear or talk their heart out. Being present with them can build their trust in opening up to you.
- Empathize with your child- Using magic words such as “I know how you feel right now” or “I can understand” can make your child feel much better.
- Make collaborative decisions regarding any situation pertaining to your child. Seeking his opinion will help you to view that situation from his perspective.
- Let your child know that he is safe, and can always rely on you for support and right guidance.
Understanding a child’s feeling through his eyes can make him feel good about himself and also help you in responding to his needs effectively.