There are many things that hurt a child’s heart and thus their self-esteem. Children are sensitive, innocent and trusting. They can be disappointed by the simplest of things. Sometimes we think they are overreacting and we are just too fatigued to deal with it. Have you ever been there?
It is important that we handle our child’s heart with care. Their heart is precious and everything we do in their growing up years will mold how they handle experiences over their lifetime. It will also teach them how to treat their own children and people along their life’s path.
Here are 6 ways to nurture your child through times of hurt feelings and disappointment:
- 1) Ask them what happened and why their feelings are hurt. (Get their side of the story; be their ally).
- 2) Listen to show you care (even if you think they deserved it, were in the wrong or are overreacting).
- 3) Comfort them and empathize with what they are feeling.
- 4) Seek to understand rather than judge or condemn.
- 5) Use it as an opportunity to teach through love that strengthens your connection.
- 6) Be willing to sit quietly for as long as it takes until they are able and willing to talk about it. Just be with them.
What you want to avoid doing are:
- – Telling them to buck up and learn to live with disappointment.
- – Coddling them and/or offering candy or other sweets to rescue them from upset.
- – Telling them they “shouldn’t” feel the way they feel.
- – Telling them to “act their age.”
- – Threatening to take something away if they don’t “straighten up”.
- – Comparing them to other children.
One of our main goals in parenting needs to be strengthening connection and trust with our children. If you can retain those two things throughout your child’s growing up years, their teen years will be easier and their adult years will be far more enjoyable. We all need to feel loved even in our darkest hours.
Remember your child’s heart is precious and vulnerable. You can harden that heart or you can soften it based on how you treat your child. Everything we do either builds our children up or tears them down. Take great care in being a parent who builds up your child. They are building a life on the foundation you create in their childhood.