When empathy doesn’t “work”
Empathy is really effective when you need to calm your child. Having our feelings acknowledged helps us(even as adults) become more cooperative. As a parent, things will become better as soon as you get over the fear of “agreeing” with your child’s “negative emotions”. However, empathy should not be used to control your little one. So? What happens when it doesn’t work? Well, in the first place, you should see if you’re really connecting with your child and with his emotions. But let’s see a few scenarios where empathy might not work and how to solve this issue.
1. Your child cries harder when you try to empathize
It happens that sometimes, when we validate our kids emotions, they tend to intensify. Have you just created these feelings? No. They were there anyway. When your child has big feelings and you empathize with him/her there might be a chance that he/she will burst into tears. It’s a good thing. Why? Because as soon as that emotion is felt, it will be gone.
2. Empathizing with emotions still leaves your child upset about it
When you truly empathize, at some point you will feel a part of your child’s emotion. If you’ve reached that level of empathy your child will feel cared and understood, which might be enough to help him move through his emotions. If, however, that doesn’t help, it means your child has a problem that empathy can’t solve. In this case you will have to dig a little further and help him solve his problem.
3. Empathizing with your child does not help stopping the tantrum
You will prevent a lot o tantrums by simply listening your child and make him feel understood. When that does not happen tho, it’s because your child just has the need to cry and show you the emotions. Once he does that, it’s simple! Hug him and allow to express these emotions.