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Tools for being emotionally responsive

As the universe says, we make or break a child. Let’s look at examples of empowering, respectful lines you can use with your child. As early as two years old, children already have a working knowledge of cause-effect. They can understand more than they can talk in this phase if you ever worry whether they will get your point or not. You will just find yourself repeating the reminders, and when you do, keep consistently calm. By 4 or even 3 they can self-manage better.

So here, let’s give them the tools for positive communication- tools that will last a lifetime, long when we’re gone.

Try to avoid the blame game:

“Did you do ____ again? I knew it!”

“Ikaw na naman gumawa nito no? Sinasabi ko na nga ba! Sige, ginagalit mo na naman ako!”

Avoid the guilt tripping as well:

“I thought you love Mama? O, why are you not listening?”

“Akala ko ba love mo si Daddy? Sige ka, aalis si Daddy ‘pag ‘di ka sumunod!”

Not to forget the morph threat:

“Don’t wait for me to get mad! You won’t like it!”

“Stop crying there, or else…!”

“Gusto mo umiyak? Sige pa? Ayaw mo ‘pag ako nagalit ha, subukan mo!”

Instead, seek to understand. Let's do a paradigm shift here:

“What happened?”

“Do you need Mama’s help?”

“Are you trying to do it by yourself?”

"Are you getting upset?"

“Ano nangyari?”

“Kailangan mo ba ng tulong ni Mommy?”

“Wow, sinusubukan mo gawin ‘yan?”

Here’s how you can be emotionally responsive:

Acknowledge your child’s emotions.

“Are you having a hard time?”

“Are you feeling upset? Sorry, my love, I feel upset too.”

“Naiinis ka ba, Anak?”

“Mahirap ba kaya ka naiiyak? Okay lang umiyak ha, sige lang, tutulungan ka ni Mommy.”

Listen with intent. Sometimes we need to address the emotions first, before the action. So listen first without fixing the issue:

“What is it? I want to help you. Do you want to tell Mama?”

“Daddy wants to help you. You can use your words when you’re ready, so Daddy will understand why you are crying, okay?”

“Anak, gusto ko makinig at tulungan ka. ‘Pag ready ka na, sabihin mo lang ha.”

Show loving patience, not hurried patience:

Not this: “Come, my love, let’s fix this now. Hurry up, I need to cook still. Faster, what is it?”

Try this: “Okay, are you ready to talk now? Not yet? Okay, don’t worry Daddy will wait.”

Work together towards an agreement. Here, you can offer two reasonable choices.

“I know we can do this. What do you think we can do next time?/ What do you think we should do now?”

“Was it good to ___? No? I don’t think so too. How about if we ______?”

"Ano sa tingin mo pwede nating gawin?"

Now, let’s put a teachable moment by way of a closure:

“I understand that when we are upset, we sometimes cry, or throw things. But we said throwing things is not okay, right? We might hurt someone, or you may get hurt, right?

Next time, I think we can try what you said, _____.”

"Okay na ba tayo, Anak? Minsan 'pag naiinis tayo naiiyak din tayo, pero tama ba na mambato? Sa susunod, sabihin mo lang naiinis ka, tapos aayusin natin pareho ito ha?"

All good? We make or break our child!

You’ve got this, Present Parent!


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