Parenting Conversations: Feelings & Cooperation
5 mins read

Parenting Conversations: Feelings & Cooperation

The first Parenting Conversations virtual session met on Wednesday, September 6. The University of Texas at Dallas Center for Children and Families facilitated a conversation with parents about concepts from How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber. You can find this book in print and digital format at Plano Public Library.

Program Manager & Community Liaison Specialist Adriana Baird (MS, LPC, IMH-E (IV)) and Assistant Director Rachel Berglund (MA) led the conversation, talking about their own children, successes and challenges. Parenting Conversations is an interactive Zoom meeting: people had their cameras and microphones on in order to participate in the conversation – many joined from their phones and had their kids alongside them. Adriana and Rachel told the parents and caregivers that this meeting is a safe space to share experiences and that it is okay to reset during your parenting journey.

Some challenges that parents spoke about were: not listening, following through and following boundaries, communication, general overwhelm, adjusting to changes in the home and at school, and cultural/social norm differences as families have moved to the area.

In this first session, Adriana spoke about helping children to deal with their feelings and cooperation.

Tips for Helping Children (and parents!) to Deal with Their Feelings
  • Acknowledge the experience and feeling that they have
  • Model how to deal with emotions – children learn from those around them
  • Be patient with yourself – we are all learning
  • Invite yourself to be a good listener – to yourself and your family: listen with your full attention, your whole body; don’t always offer solutions; in your own words, repeat what they are saying “What I’m hearing is…”; ask questions and get clarification
  • Label the emotions: Give them the vocabulary for these emotions – children feel overwhelmed with these feelings and by describing them they will gain emotional vocabulary and it acknowledges their experience
  • Instead of using logic, give children what they need in fantasy: “I don’t want to eat broccoli!” “Yes, I wish I had a magic wand to change this broccoli into candy!”

Questions to think about when dealing with feelings:

  • What is an unmet need causing these feelings?
  • What are the best tools that fit with the parent’s personality? The child’s personality?
  • What skills can we give to children so they can use them to deal with their feelings?
Tips for Engaging and Cooperation
  • Use a timer (“You have five more minutes to watch TV and when the timer goes off, it’s time for bed”)
  • Describe the problem (“When I walk into this room and see all of the LEGOs on the floor, it’s going to be hard to walk across the room – I might step on a piece and it will hurt!”)
  • Say it with one word – don’t use a lengthy narrative (“When I say LEGO, it’s time to pick up the LEGO pieces and put them in the box”)
  • Talk about your own feelings (“I’m going to be really happy if you help me pick up these LEGOs”)
  • Make the children feel special and important for the work they do
  • Use pictures demonstrating the steps to show them when they need reminders

Something to think about when giving a child instructions: maybe the instructions are given “at the wrong time” – in the middle of them doing something already that they are invested in.

Events for Parents/Caregivers

Be sure to register for the next Parenting Conversations, which will meet on Wednesday, October 4 at 1:30pm via Zoom. You only need to register once to get access to the entire series!

Join us for another series for parents: Parent Café. Parent Cafés bring together parents and coaches for meaningful conversations about factors that build resilience in children and strengthen families, while also building parent leadership. This program is intended for parents/caregivers only. These sessions meet at Schimelpfenig Library at 6:30pm:

  • Sep 28: Under Construction: Building Structure and Routine at Home
  • Nov 9: Welcome to the Circle of Life: Celebrating Life’s Transitions

Our next Family Place Playgroup workshop begins October 12 at 10am at Harrington Library, and registration opens September 25. Family Place Playgroup is a five-week series where you can spend time together, play, make friends and talk one-on-one with child development specialists. This workshop is for kids ages 0-36 months with their parents/caregivers. Registration is in-person, so stop by Harrington Library beginning September 25.

Looking for more resources to boost your parenting skills? Look through the Parenting Collection at our libraries, as well as the Family & Relationships category of eBooks and audiobooks. In the catalog, you can simply search “parenting” or any specific topic (communication, boundaries, emotions) to find more.

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