Having worked with families for years I saw many cases of communication breakdown within the family home. I have experienced it personally as I am sure some of you will relate. This led to them/us becoming stuck in unhealthy/ unhappy behaviour patterns. Families referred to each other and the experience as

  • “They don’t listen”..
  • “He doesn’t care care”
  • “Why don’t they get it!?”
  • “What is the point trying to talk to them?”
  • “I know what response I will get”

It is deeper than that.. in reality it is not about having any conversations. Anyone can discuss the weather. We are seeking conversations with meaning and authentic depth.

What if we saw these patterns as cry for help, a need for connection, a sign we have things to say but not the words? If we recognised unhealthy patterns for what they are, fear responses to possible rejection. Would you…

  • Change your approach?
  • Give more empathy?
  • Allow yourself more empathy?
  • Can you release the fear and frustration that you hold so you child can do the same?
Emotional Literacy is a Gift

In addition to holding space. I believe one of the best gifts you can give a child is emotional literacy. It empowers them for life to understand themselves, others and to voice their truth. After all how can you really have an honest conversation about life if your vocabulary stretches to sad, happy angry and ok plus your only allowed to use one at a time. In reality you have so much to say and feeling so much but not the words to express it. You all know the only time “OK” should be used if it is following “Annie are you”.. and before a moonwalk (WOW! I just showed my age!!.)

When you don’t have the words.

Can you tell someone you are not safe if that feeling inside is anxious, fearful, shame, guilty, overwhelmed, betrayed, lost, confused, frozen, shocked… What if you only have the choice of sad and angry? Is it possible to disclose how you feel if you have already been labelled as “being” angry.

Is it possible to tell someone you are achieving your dreams and are proud, blessed, grateful, joyous, but you only have a choice of happy and ok that just doesn’t cover it and feels depleting.

We have all been there in the situation of screaming at a film. “Tell them you love them!” but they don’t or can’t because the words they have doesn’t align with all the emotions flowing through them… Maybe its just a good script pulling you in until the bumbling fool catches the high flyer.. but you get my gist. It would be awesome if we had the words and the capability to freely express how we feel when we feel it. I think it would actually reduce a lot of anxiety and false assumptions about what the other is thinking. and maybe that communication breakdown that fear of rejection is no longer needed.

Model it!

If you want to develop your child’s emotional literacy you also need to work on your own.

  • check in with your self how are you feeling right now?
  • are you allowed to show all your feelings?
    – if not who says?
    – why would they say that?
    – what if they are wrong?
    – what if the opposite is true?

Practice interviewing yourself regularly and get to really understand how you are feeling. when you do this you will open a whole new freedom for your child to do the same.

I want to help grow our emotional literacy so we at least have the right tools for the job we call life! If you want to join me check out my new Free YouTube Emotional Alphataps what will be a growing emotional literacy dictionary with EFT tapping.

If you know a young person that is already stuck why not look at my Emotional toolbox on Udemy. Understanding and feeling Anger was launched this week!