Meagan Jackson is a member of First Church who is a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern and a Nationally Certified Counselor. She offers counseling and play therapy on our campus. You can contact Meagan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 817.504.1121.
One of my favorite parts of my job as a counselor that works with kids is working with parents. Maybe it’s because I am a parent and completely understand that these cute bundles of joy come without an individual instruction guide that would help parents handle every twist and turn of childhood, but I think the real reason I love working with parents is because when I work with parents I am allowed into their world where unconditional love and complete frustration overlap. When parents talks about their kiddo I can feel, the sadness and frustration they may be feeling but also feel the love and hope they have for their child, because, after all, there has to be hope when you bring a child to a counselor. I enjoy sitting with parents talking about their child, brainstorming ideas, and giving them some of the cool tools that I have in my hand bag; tools for helping parents better connect with their children. So, I would like to share with all those parents out there a tip or two I have for working with, connecting to, or relating with your child.
Want an effective way to set limits? Try limit setting with empathy. Many times when your child is acting out many times they are feeling sad, angry, mad, frustrated, out of control, jealous; the list can go on and on. As parents, we often want to teach our children that their behaviors are not acceptable in these moments and the lesson gets missed because they are overcome with emotion. So try this: empathize with your child first. Communicate with them that you understand why they are feeling sad, angry, mad, frustrated, out of control, jealous, etc; doing this will allow you to connect with your child when they are in a vulnerable state, as well as start to teach them about how to handle emotions.
Here’s the simple ACT process.
A – Acknowledge the feeling (Empathize)
“Johnny, I know that you are angry…”
C – Communicate the Limit
“…But your sister is not for hitting.”
T – Target an alternative
“You may choose to ask for your toy back or you can choose to go play with another toy.”