Last week we discussed one of the general ways we can be invalidating to children, which does the OPPOSITE of calming kids down. Specifically, we talked about “attempting to talk someone out of their feelings.”
This week, I’ll share another way we sometimes do the same thing unwittingly. This time, we “judge and label” kids for having strong feelings.
So what should we NOT say when a child says, “I’M NOT GOING ON THE BUS THIS YEAR. THE KIDS ON THE BUS ARE MEAN!!!”
(The phrases are colored in red as they are red behavior for us, the adults.)
Judging & Labeling
“You are a cry baby.”
“You have a problem.”
“You are too sensitive.”
“You are over-reacting.”
“You are way too emotional.”
“You are totally out of caontrol.”
“You need to get your head examined!”
Ok, if we can’t say any of the above, what do we do instead???
Tips: (It’s helpful to review the strategies again.)
1. If you catch yourself wanting to say something invalidating, STOP! Don’t say it!
2. Listen quietly while making eye contact with your child. Rather say nothing than say something invalidating.
3. Write down the list of reasons why your child doesn’t want to go on the bus.
4. Problem-solve some of those reasons. (Most kids are satisfied if you solve at least some of the problems. You don’t have to fix all of their reasons for not wanting to go on the bus.) For example, you might be able to arrange for an older, kinder child to sit next to your kid on the bus.
5. If your child is bullied on the bus, make sure to involve school personnel to help protect your child. No child should have to suffer bullying, ever!
Enjoy this week! It’s still summer vacation!!