Heart Centered Communication - Listening to Our Children:
“Communication connects two people, the giver and the receiver, and this connection gives birth to a new sense of belonging.”
- Deepak K. Chopra
Communication is the only way we can begin to truly understand what are children are experiencing - their outward behavior is their own way of expressing what they are feeling.
How can we teach them to be authentic within themselves, and to have the words to describe their emotions in a safe, healthy way?
How do we hold space for our children in order for them to be more trusting of their own process and journey?
Children are receptive- they react to what happens around them, in both positive and negative ways. The environment we create for our children is often called the container. If that container is filled with fear, uneasiness, stress, and judgment, our children won’t feel at peace and won’t be able to be their authentic self. They might instead react out of fear, judgment, stress, and anything else that they might be interpreting form the world around them. We want to create a space where they feel they can express any fears and emotions, where they feel safe to express anything to us without fear of our judgment. We want to address their behavior, uncover the deeper feelings behind their behavior, and hold space for them to communicate those feelings to us.
Before we can address their needs, we need to reflect personally. We need to be aware of how we might affect our children if we aren’t currently in a space to hold a safe space for them.
How are we carrying ourselves? 80% of all communication is considered to be non-verbal. Children look to our body language, how fast we talk, the tone we use when we speak to them, and use this in evaluating if it feels safe or unsafe.
So, how can we take our own emotions out of the space we hold and make space for them on their own journey? How can we be compassionate and be present? How can we address and meet our own needs first, so we can address the needs of others?
Being reflective and honest with ourselves brings us to a place of peace, and calm, Sometimes, we might not be able to be reflective if we are feeling angry, irritated, and reactive.
Our biggest resource is our breath. Breath work, by breathing in through your nose and out from your mouth, imagining your breath as a light coursing upwards through your body and being mindful allows us to connect to ourselves and helps bring us back into peace and calm. It allows us to have a pause before we reacting to our children’s behavior.
When we’re grounded, we can begin observing our children more thoughtfully and offer compassion, trust, and understanding. Are they angry? Are they upset? Do they need to vent? Whatever they might be feeling, we need to validate their experience and feelings even if we feel differently. We must remember that their behavior has a deeper feeling connected to it. We must validate their own individual emotions. However they may feel, we need to hold space for them to feel safe.
Listen and Validate
When we are grounded within ourselves, we are able to hold space for our children, and are able to listen to the feelings that are underneath their behavior.
Imagine they are angry that they’ve aren’t allowed to play video games for the rest of the night. They come to you angry that it isn’t fair and that you’re the “only parent” that doesn’t let them play video games whenever they want. Don’t react, just allow them to express what they need to express. Connect before we correct!
Repeat what they say to you, in a calm mannered tone. Validate their feelings and emotions by acknowledging how they feel. If you don’t react, they won’t react to your reaction; and this allows them to continue expressing how they feel on a deeper level.
In their expression of being frustrated, they say “Playing video games is the only time I’m able to be with my friends because we’re not in school, and it’s lonely.” Now you have a gauge on how they’re feeling. It’s not the video games- it’s their feeling of loneliness not being able to be with their friends. By reacting to their behavior without being grounded, we can’t holding a deeper place to get to the real root of their emotions. We can only accomplish this deeper connection when we first ground ourselves and take care of our own needs. When we are at peace in ourselves, we can then allow space for them to open up, a space where they will feel safe, loved, validated, and connected to you. In this space, they don’t feel judged by you; instead, they feel they can trust you with anything, and this allows a deeper connection between parent and child that is cherished.