The next question that inevitably comes up when we’re talking about feelings and maybe not doing a time out is that it means we’re encouraging chaos, that things are going to be out of control, that it means we can’t say no. Creating space for feelings doesn’t mean that your kids can do anything they want. It means that when you need to say no about something, you make room for how they’re feeling about that no.
I’m Rebecca Thompson Hitt and this is Better Relationships in 2 minutes.
Let’s say that your child wants a soda. You know that if your child can’t have the soda, there are going to be big feelings about that. A permissive solution would be to give the child the soda so that you avoid the upset, knowing that your child will be all hopped up on sugar/corn-syrup and you’ll have a very hard time getting your child to bed later and then you’re going to be upset.
It’s actually important for your child to have some well-placed, meaningful “no’s” in his/her life. Adults who never had someone say no aren’t really pleasant to live with, honestly. But when there is room for your child’s feelings about the no, your child actually learns a lot in the process. You can lovingly say no and your child learns that they will survive the feelings. You can be with your child while the upset is happening, so your child isn’t alone with big feelings. Once the feelings have calmed down, you can come up with another solution together and find something that would be acceptable to both of you.
But if you haven’t had a lot of experience dealing with feelings yourself, it can feel overwhelming. We’re exploring this topic over the next 6 months in Listening to Feelings, our virtual course for parents around the world. I’d love to have you join us! If enrollment is closed for the live course, you can jump into the on-demand course anytime.
Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about why space for feelings is so important for emotional health.