Careful listening helps kids feel heard. Language that communicates careful listening when kids have strong emotions is similar to paraphrasing, but in a way that signals you’re trying to understand their feelings.
The acronym WIG, or “What I Got” from what you said, describes this kind of listening. Try:
- What I got from what you said is that you feel like …
- Am I getting this right? You feel … because …
- It sounds like you’re feeling … because …
- Let me see if I’m understanding. You feel like …
Using language that expresses validation is also helpful. It shows kids they’re not wrong to feel the way they feel, and that they – and their feelings – are accepted. Try:
- I’d also be scared if that happened.
- That must have been hard for you.
- I can see why you say you had a difficult day.
- I think most people would be upset by that, too.
Once you’ve done the listening and validation work, your kid will feel heard and accepted. Now you can move on to a place of curiosity, ask questions to better understand their experience, and explore ways to solve problems together!
Adapted from CNBC Raising Successful Kids
You can download this printable HERE.