Up your comforting game with these 3 skills
So many of us struggle to know what to say or do when someone we care about is upset, whether it’s our kids, our significant other, or close friends. The funny thing is - it’s not like we aren’t talking and that people don’t hear us, we just don’t get that emotional connection when we feel like people aren’t relating to us or caring about how we are feeling. This is one of the most common complaints I hear in my practice – that people, kids included, don’t feel heard.
What if I told you I could teach you three skills that will help you up your comforting game in your relationships – kids, friends, and significant other. These are the three skills I spend the most time doing when I’m in the therapy room with someone. It helps the person feel heard and that I actually care about them and what is going on.
Before I started using these skills with my kids, I found that they would repeat themselves a lot, or they would not seem to feel like I heard them, then it seemed like they weren’t really telling me a whole lot of anything. I would hear what they were saying and would skip to responding from my perspective or launching into a classic lecture of sorts to explain why something may be the way it is.
After starting to use these skills, they opened up more! I heard way more about friends at school or silly things from the playground, what they were learning, and so on. After doing this for a few days they actually started caring more about what I had to say too! …what?! Kids listening and caring about what the parent says? That’s new 😉
The three skills are ones that should not be new to you. They are the three relationship building skills used by every therapist to help their clients feel comfortable enough to open up and talk about their life in a vulnerable way. The three skills are:
3. Positive regard
Let me break down why these three are so important!
The purpose of empathy is more than just being in their shoes. It builds rapport and can bring about more details when you show you understand. It also conveys that you are working from the same side and will help the other understand and explore themselves more – how is that not exactly what you want for your child!?
The great aspects of genuineness is that it helps bring the relationship closer together because you work towards reducing the emotional distance by being supportive with your body language and being open about having similar struggles – this does not mean you launch into a long story about your struggle. Opening up can help your kid, friend, or significant other identify with you and that they are not alone or an odd duck out.
This is one of my favorites because it shows the strength of commitment to the relationship. Positive regard is all about expressing a willingness to work together, accept the other person as they are (that doesn’t mean you accept their choices because behavior does not equal character), and show interest in them as a person.
Sounds pretty self explanatory right?!
But easier said than done sometimes right?!
Well in my next post I’m going to talk about 4 different ways you can express empathy in a relationship.
I kid you not, you guys! Empathy works like magic in calming a child down. When a kid is emotional and upset – they think something might be wrong with them! If you use empathetic statements, they feel heard and valued and that chaos will calm in a snap. So subscribe below so you can make sure you don’t miss out on that gold mine!
Till next time…