Release destructive emotions

 

We All Want Attention, Affection and Approval! Use Active Listening to Help your Child Feel Validated

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“Find the extra time. Yes, teens take more time to parent. You need to be there when your teens want to talk about what is churning in their heads. Start out by listening – don’t half listen while you think of something else.” – Marilyn Heins

“Nobody understands me” is a common complaint of young people. Feeling different from others and feeling alone creates more confusion and conflict in the adolescent mind, which is working so hard to find an identity. One study showed that most behavior problems were caused by the child’s not feeling heard by adults.

The research says that feeling invalidated by others is the most common reason young people act! Young people do not feel respected when they are ignored, not listened to, or order to feel differently. They feel put down and reason that others do not care about them, so why should they care about themselves. They seek others in rebellion like themselves who seeming care and start to adopt values of giving up, alcohol and drug use.

attention, affection, approval

Underneath all these new behaviors of insisting on being left alone is the child’s ongoing need for the Three Big A’s—attention, affection and approval. Young people do not feel respected when they are ignored, not listened to, or order to feel differently.

“Why questions” typically do not work in getting to the root of why your youngster is acting the way he does. Children do not feel validated when parents ask them why they feel the way they do and then tell them how the “should” act. They also feel invalidated when you do not approve of their friends. A cardinal sin for most young people is being dissed by someone. They are furious and defensive when parents call their friends names. Some young people have a misguided sense of loyalty to their friends and keep hanging around people they would normally let go of just because their parents talk disrespectfully about the qualities of the friend.

Philosophizing and dismissal of a child’s problems will make him shut you out and become “parent deaf.” The time of the teen years are at a time of life when he is trying to interpret his world which is changing rapidly. It stings when a parent puts him down by calling him too sensitive, a crybaby, a whiner, stupid, too dramatic or a drama queen.

Underneath all these new behaviors of insisting on being left alone is the child’s ongoing need for the Three Big A’s—attention, affection and approval.And of course structure and clear, strong limits. I love the cartoon showing one porcupine talking to another who says, “Just once, I’d like to be petted!”

Our kids are like that at times. Prickly on the outside but needing that nurturance and connection even at the same time they deny it. They want you to love them despite how irrationally they are acting. So take a deep breath, drop into your heart to find what you really want for them at those moments when they are driving you crazy. That takes you out of your anger in the moment and puts you back in a space of rationality and clarity. Find your loving intention before words come out your mouth.

Lynne Namka is a Happy Psychologist who writes about love and life. She’s a wife, the mother of three, grandmother of three and a desert gardener who lives and practices in Tucson, Arizona. Her award-winning website is www.AngriesOut.com.



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