Who doesn’t want to be calm and connected while taming big emotions?
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” Brené Brown.
It’s not easy staying connected to your child when they are screaming, frothing at the mouth, head banging, having a meltdown, sulking, pouting and the list goes on. It can bring many of our triggers to surface and not in the most connecting of ways. When triggered we default to our habits. For some of us that are nagging, yelling, screaming, dismissing, ignoring, crying, sulking, bribing, threatening and the list goes on. It is a no-brainer that teaching emotions are a skill and not your average skill requirement. It comes with the reflexes of a ninja and the peace of a Zen monk, and that’s where ‘Connected Language’ is a saviour. I’ve drawn from Brené Brown’s quote on the connection.
When we feel seen, heard and valued! We all know it’s opposite, feeling dismissed, powerless, invisible and worthless and that’s what disconnection can feel like when we do things we wished we hadn’t of with our child. We all at some point, disconnect and if and when you do. Brush it off, reflect on it and focus more on what you can do for next time than lamenting and guilt-ing and should-ing on yourself.
Powerful beyond measure is the ability to see and hear our child in the midst of a crisis; the puzzle piece won’t fit, the Lego broke, the pizza has cheese, the playmate play fair, and the dummy drops to the floor. Connected language gives you a practice as calm and connection being the focus. A way to not have to be thinking on your feet, at the moment at the time with enough adrenaline through your system to kill a small rat. It indeed is a mindset. It requires you to change the way you think about their emotions, and this is where focusing on feelings, and not behaviour can help you to be able to use Connected Language!
Connected language helps you to stay calm and to keep the connection at the forefront of your experience and interaction with your child, even in the challenging times. YES, with practise, even then.
Things to be mindful of;
At first, it may feel unnatural or a little contrived, you can feel like a fake and a fraud. Act as if you are calm and connected and eventually with practise, it will be who you are, not what you are fighting so hard to maintain.
Go easy on yourself if this type of language is new or feels awkward. With practice, you will begin to notice how much calmer you are and how your confidence grows when you can stay calm, and keep the connection while teaching and guiding your child through the terrain of their big emotions you will see the benefits, and it will hold you confident with the practise. A nice little by-product is you begin to be more in touch with your own emotions too.
Time and time again we are guided by blogs and books to notice a child’s emotions, acknowledge emotions and make space for emotions to be felt and moved through with your support.
Why is it so important?
The more in touch a child is with their emotions, the more equipped they are to cope with the ebb and flow of life and to build relationships of mutual love, trust and respect. In a nutshell, the more resilient, confident and capable they become, helping them to grow to their potential. The more they can do this, the more they can think and act from that place rather than the whim of charged emotions. The stronger their mindset when their feelings do not control them. Also, this comes with years and years of practise.
One of the most profound things I’ve learned over the past 15 years of my connected parenting journey with my son, is that connection is not just about the loving times we have together. For me – Connection is the anchor that keeps us steady in our challenging times and is our ability to form a pathway of mutual love, trust and respect as we age together. That ‘no matter what’ we are always connected.
Keeping my mindset strong and using Connected Language helps the focus of linking a word/feeling with an action. When children can connect feelings with a word, they gain understanding and comprehend the connection between how they feel and the response they experience in their body, with their thoughts and actions. This gives and creates meaning around the feeling, and eventually, they learn the WORD and build upon their emotional literacy bank (I discussed that in FOCUS ON FEELINGS). Children then have a dominant language bank in growing their emotional literacy to know themselves better and communicate their feelings and needs as they grow and develop. Emotion awareness for children (and adults) nurtures self-esteem! It is a powerful tool for parents to practice, not only to gain more calm and confidence but to bring out the best in each other along the way – potential!
By using a particular word to describe an emotion, your child can link his or her feelings with that word. When children can comprehend this relationship, they have a powerful language bank to communicate feelings and needs better.
When children can link feelings with a word, then they gain understanding and comprehend the connection between how they feel and the response they experience in their body, with their thoughts and actions. They begin to realise that their emotions drive the way they think, and act. This gives them a powerful language bank in growing upon their emotional literacy to know themselves better and have the confidence to communicate their feelings and needs respectfully. Long-term and with practice, we want to encourage our children to better express what they need in the playground, at Kindy, at home and with family.
With connected language you can teach and guide your child’s emotional awareness and nurture connection through 2 essential phrases; “I hear you, I see you.”
I HEAR YOU REQUIRES LISTENING. Moreover, let’s face it, it’s sometimes hard to listen to your child if you have multiple children and a thousand things (not exaggerated) going on in your head and home. This phrase helps YOU to check in to, without the added guilt and frustration.
I SEE YOU REQUIRES SHIFTING YOUR MINDSET TO ACCEPTANCE, GROWTH AND LOVE. It helps you to choose not to evaluate the behaviour and labelling your child – remember it takes practice).
These phrases nurture empathy, love, trust, respect, connection, togetherness and acceptance and ultimately nurturing your child’s emotional intelligence, self-esteem, self-image and self-belief!
2 Phrases that help us all to feel seen, heard and valued.
I see you – Connected Language in Action.
Use the phrase – Choose the emotion or choose the Value.
These phrases are extra powerful because you can also get to nurture virtues and values. You can interchange emotions with values, depending on what you choose to encourage. That simple.
I see your happiness
I see your disgust
I see your anger
I see your calm
I see your nervousness
I see your frustration
I see your embarrassment
I see your confidence
I see your friendliness
I see your kindness
I see your happiness
“I see your disappointment that you don’t want to go home from the park.”
“I see your confidence, taking your sister to see the chickens.”
“I see your frustration, keep going, you are nearly there.”
“I see you working hard at your assignment, do you need any feedback?”
“I see your concern for your friend, do you want to go and see if he needs help?”
I hear you – Connected Language in Action.
Use the Phrase – Choose the Emotion.
I hear your frustration
I hear your annoyance
I hear your joy
I hear your excitement
I hear your fright
I hear your disappointment
I hear your devastation
I hear your tact
I hear your forgiveness
I hear your gentleness
I hear your trust
“I hear your frustration; it is annoying when we have to wait for so long for our dinner.”
“I hear your joy; it is so exciting to see Grandma come off the plane.”
“I hear you’re upset; it’s okay to cry.”
“I hear you are hungry, thank you for your patience.”
It’s not enough to expect our child to know what feelings are or to manage something they know little about with their emotions. When we come from this understanding, we draw on acceptance, patience, gentleness and realistic expectations and we start to see our emotional habits and reflexes too.
None of us are perfect, none of us have immunity from emotional meltdowns, and with ‘Connected Language’ we can use it as the anchor that calms the storm in those times where it is so easy to disconnect when triggered, ourselves
If you have any questions, I’m here.