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Power of emotion. Let us share our feelings with them.

kidsparents2 yearschild3 yearsFeuilletonchildrenkidLenka Míkovcová4 years5 years1 yearRespect and be Respected0 yearpunishmentnatural consequencesnatural consequences of behavior

It was a strong blow. The impact thrust them away from each other onto the ground, followed by crying which was audible across the entire cafeteria. Classic. They run like mad and then they really do run into each other. Both of them ran to their mothers and poured out their hearts to them. Their dads watched and added an opinion about how to be brave men once in a while. “Don’t cry, get up and come outside already.” And the other boy was lucky in the accident. His mother told him that she understood that it did hurt and that she also wished that it would stop hurting and that he could run again.

At that moment I remembered the time, when I received the book How to Talk, So That Children Will Listen*. For a moment, when I realized, that diminishing, denying and distracting natural emotions doesn’t help anyone. On the contrary, Kryštof wouldn’t learn to understand his feelings and emotions, which are so important for his future life’s decisions. And that empathy and support from your parents wouldn’t always be there.

I recalled this from that incident and I tried it anew. In subsequent smaller mishaps I listened to his troubles and described to him exactly how I perceived the injury. I described his feelings and expressed our desire that it did not hurt. In the end, I suggested what we could do to improve the situation.

Kryštof is now four and a half years old and Eliška three. When they fall down they get up and say something like “What a fall.” They look to see if there isn’t a scratch and if there is they come with a tear in their eye to receive a hug, a disinfectant and bandage. And if we come upon something which really hurts – physically or psychologically – we let the emotions flow and then start the empathic reaction. And with that, as stated by Kopřivovi**, we can learn.

*How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish

**Taťjana a Pavel Kopřivovi are a couple from the authors of the book Respektovat a být respektován (Respect and be respected), Pavel Kopřiva, Jana Nováčková, Dobromila Nevolová, Taťjana Kopřivová, Pavel Kopřiva - Spirála, 2008


I also came in touch with other approaches aside from diverting attention:

  • Labelling: “A big boy like you surely won’t cry…”, “You’re such a showgirl”

  • Diverting attention: “It’s nothing, look at that balloon over there.”

  • Emotional blackmail: “Of course you won’t cry, because that would make your aunt sad..”

Empathic reactions The authors of the book Respect and be respected also state that:

  • “Empathy is an inborn quality, we can learn to react using it”

  • “You have the right to feel like you do right now. You are also the one, who can change that. You have my support. “

  • “It is good to train your empathic reactions in regular life situations. If you manage to do them there, you can manage to do them in more difficult situations.”

  • Empathy through doing: “We don’t even have to say anything. It’s enough if they only see your facial expression…”. “…crandle, pet, snuggle or embrace.”

Emotional intelligence If you are already trying to be empathic, you are lacking words. You can look up for example the addition of the book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. This is what he writes about emotion: “Emotions are feelings and thoughts connected to them, psychological and physiological states and also a range of compulsions aiming towards a certain act.”

The main categories of emotions contain:

  • Love: friendship, trust, toleration, being in love,…

  • Happiness: luck, relief, pride and satisfaction, enthusiasm, bliss,…

  • Surprise: shock, astonishment, consternation, amazement,…

  • Anger: rage, cruelty, ire, hatred, aggravation …

  • Sadness: grief, unhappiness, despondence, loneliness, melancholy,…

  • Fear: anxiety, nervousness, horror, suspicion,…

  • Indignant resistance: contempt, scorn, disgust,…

  • Shame: guilt, embarrassment, remorse, humiliation, regret,…

Author: Lenka Míkovcová

Translation: Marek Hubbell