This article was kindly written by Psychologist Indira Pappaterra for Top10Mom in July 2017.
I hope everyone who has the joy and privilege of being surrounded by children finds this article useful. Here I am sharing some of the fundamentals to build strong and meaningful relationships with kids.
- Respect them in every way. They have been only a few years on earth so acknowledge and protect their inner worlds. What they do, feel and need is real. Honor them always. Remember that how you see them is going to shape how they see themselves.
- Be approachable, be present. They need to believe in you no matter what. Your love and presence cannot be conditioned by their behavior. Make sure they know you are a safe haven even when they make poor choices. This is when they need you the most. Children need to believe that you will provide them safety and warmth so they can regain calmness and peace to their hearts and minds.
- Validate their feelings, help them name their emotions and help them come up with positive options to channel feelings. Feelings are genuine and overwhelming most of the times. Become their guide through their emotional learning process. This is the only way to build assertiveness.
- Send the message (constantly) that they are valuable, important and unique. They need to hear from you how they make your world better. Those messages are the ones to form their self-concept and self-value. Thank their love and presence; this is a gift you are lucky to receive.
- Always be honest. Do never underestimate children´s ability to perceive and understand what goes on around them. Children have quite keen senses. So talk to them with words that they can relate to and provide examples. You have a job here; assist them to elaborate their experiences in a positive way. This is how resilience is born.
- Honor and guard what they share with you. They need privacy. It will allow them to open up to you when they need to so you can better understand and listen to them.
- It is as simple as this quote:
“Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth, for what they believe are what they will become”. -Brooke Hampton.