The magic word in parenting
There is one magic word that helps parents cope with situations when a child experiences complex emotions. You probably thought of such words as “love”, “caring”, etc., but this is a different word. It is usually not paid attention to, because it refers to auxiliary words. But, note, has great power in raising children.
This is the word “and.” His power becomes visible when you replace him with the word “but.” The word “but” denies any point of view, and the word “and” adds certain nuances to it.
Consider how building phrases that you pronounce to your child can change their meaning.
1. “I understand that your brother offended you, and I am glad that you told me this” and “I understand that your brother offended you, but I am glad that you told me this.”
The word “and” here emphasizes the feelings of the child: the first part of the phrase makes the child understand that you heard him, and the second – emphasizes the importance of sharing his feelings with you. As a result, the child will learn how important it is to share his feelings with loved ones.
If you use the word “but” in such phrases, they also present two points of view. However, such a phrase looks like a consolation, and at the same time, a more important meaning is lost – the joy that the child shared his feelings. Because of this, he might think that he is not understood or is not considered with his feelings. But, when you use the word “and”, both parts of the phrase are equivalent, so the child perceives both messages contained in it.
2. “I admire how cleverly you climbed a tree, and I worry that you can fall” and “I admire how cleverly you climbed a tree, but I worry that you can fall.”
In the first sentence, using the words “and”, two different emotions are experienced by the mother in relation to the child. These emotions are simultaneous and equivalent. Mom approves the feelings and behavior of the child in this situation, while recognizing the riskiness of his action. Such a phrase sounds like a child’s call for caution, rather than criticizing or ignoring his feelings.
3. “It seems that you wanted to show her something, and she felt that you were not listening to her” and “It seems that you wanted to show her something, but she felt that you were not listening to her.”
In this case, the words “and” and “but” completely change the meaning of the phrase. If you use the word “but,” the child may conclude that the emotions of the other person are more important than his own.
If you use the word “and”, then you present to the child two opposing points of view on the situation and two feelings that contradict each other. Thanks to this, the child will understand that there are other points of view in the world and that the world is actually more complicated than it seems at first glance. From this, he will be able to conclude: each person first of all pays attention to his feelings. However, if you pay attention to the feelings of another person, you can avoid many conflicts.
Sensitivity to the feelings and emotions of others, which in psychology is called mentalization, implies the ability to take into account the thoughts and feelings of other people, even if they are different from our own. This allows you to establish positive relationships with other people and ensures mental health.
When we show the child a different point of view on certain situations, while empathizing with him and taking care of his needs, this becomes an important life lesson for him. It may take some time to teach a child how to be sensitive to other people’s feelings, but for a child it will become an invaluable gift for life.