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Projecting? Or teaching to express?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have a question that perhaps some of the buddhist moms will understand a little better.

When teaching my child to express her feelings, or when simply getting her to talk about something that happened, I am offering words for her to express her feelings. For example, "When I left you at preschool you were angry with me, weren't you?" Of course she says yes.

When I hear other mothers doing this I feel like they are projecting their own feelings (specifically their fear that the children were angry at them) onto the child. It sounds ridiculous to me sometimes.

However, sometimes it seems to help Iris and me when we can talk about how she felt at a particular moment. But I worry that I'm doing this only to ease my own mind, not hers.

Is there a better way to talk about emotions? Or do you all think it's perfectly fine the way I'm doing it?
post #2 of 10
DD's only 17 months, and doesn't fully understand what I say... but I try to use phrases like, "You sound angry" or "You look happy" rather than "You are..." Like you, I'm wary of labeling her emotions for her, but I'm not so wary of letting her (or anyone I deal with for that matter) know how she appears to me.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Great point!
post #4 of 10
I had a big discussion about this with a friend who recommended the "How to talk so your kids will listen" book - I felt like it was too much of telling them how YOu think they feel/should feel/how you would feel if you were them (that's projecting, right ?LOL) etc etc. That if they happened to be in a snit about not liking their shoes but you *think* they are cranky about not getting a cookie or whatever, and you label their emotions incorrectly, wouldn't that just make them feel not validated ? SOmetimes this GD is so confusing LOL
ANyway my ds is almost 3 and I have started to label some obvious emotions when he is acting out or needing to use "his words" and it does seem to work a bit. But I still feel like I am somehow not doing it right. I am interested to hear what others have to say. And I agree iwth you that when I hear some other parents do it, I roll my eyes but I am doing it too LOL
post #5 of 10
This is one situation where I am big on offering "choices" So its somthing like "When I left you at preschool, I thought you seemed mad or sad. Was I right or wrong. How did you feel?

This gives my kids the chance to think about and talk about how they were feeling, but not thinking that I am assuming anything.
post #6 of 10
I think that while it may start out as projecting, it still helps the child to learn to identify their own emotions. I've done this with my daughter fomr the start, saying things like "you seem angry" or "you're feeling sad", etc, etc, and now at 3, she is really learning to express herself. A few months ago, I said, "You're angry aren't you?" or something like that and she responded, "NO! I'm frustrated and sad!" That's when I knew it was working. She now tells me how she feels without prompting.
post #7 of 10
I'm worried about this for my son too. I like the multiple choices idea. That way they are really forced to think about how they are feeling without just latching onto whatever you think the emotion is.

I had no idea how difficult it was to be a parent until I became one. Everything is so delicate and you have to be really mindful all the time. Which is great practice, really, for staying in the moment.

to everyone for actually thinking about these things. My mother often rolls her eyes at me for worrying about these things, yet she is in therapy right now so that she can learn to communicate her feelings! HELLO!?!?
post #8 of 10
I find that even young children can tell you if you are right or wrong on labeling their feelings so I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just totally let them tell you you're wrong if they need to. Also, I used to talk to my son about the "signs" of certain emotions. So I'd say, you're using a louder voice and saying "no" alot those are signs of being mad, are you mad? This was so that he could start recognizing them on his own.

I would give your kids lots of words to use for feeligns and as they get older they'll get really good at picking what they respond to and then you can try projecting your feeligns all you want and they won't just respond yes.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
The thing is: My dd says yes to everything!
post #10 of 10
Another thing I did which I think help my now-expressive DD was to talk about what I was feeling and the outward signs that would help her know that's how I was feeling. "I'm crying because I'm sad about ____. Sometimes when I'm sad, I cry."
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