If you want your children to learn to be responsible for their own thoughts and feelings – to know and trust their own
thoughts and feelings – avoid telling them what they think or feel or what they “should” think or feel.
When they understand and can name their own thoughts and feelings they will be able to deal with those thoughts and feelings more easily. They can learn to feel better when they are mad or scared and to fully enjoy their happy feelings.
Child NOT encouraged to think and feel for self: “You don’t have anything to be scared about.” Suggests that scared is what you expect the child to feel (whether they really do or not).
Child IS encouraged to think and feel for self: “Are you scared?” This says the adult wants to understand what the child feels and opens up the opportunity for the adult to help the child deal with whatever he or she is feeling.
Inspired by: SELF-ESTEEM: A FAMILY AFFAIR by Jean Illsley Clarke.