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Facilitating therapeutic conversations with your child to deepen parent-child understanding

Updated: 7 days ago

Why should parents facilitate therapeutic conversations with their children? Because it involves creating a safe and supportive environment for individuals to feel comfortable and express themselves through exploring their thoughts and feelings. This way, parents can get to know their children better, and vice versa. But how do we even begin?

Emotional Regulation Firstly, self-awareness is of utmost importance, in order to know what makes ourselves tick and so that we can start to create the safe space for others to share. These are 3 useful strategies that adults can use to help a child to deal with their emotions in the initial stages: 1. Self-regulate You must first be aware of your own sensations and feelings, and acknowledge the them. Regulate yourself such as by taking a deep breath so you can respond in a calm manner. 2. Co-regulate

Help to manage and soothe your child’s big emotions by connecting with them in a calm manner, comforting them and acknowledging their thoughts and feelings. 3. Teach your child to self-regulate

Help your child learn self-regulation strategies, such as taking deep breaths, counting to 20, closing their eyes for a period of time, or hugging their favourite soft toy or blanket. With scaffolding and practice, your child will become increasingly independent in their self-regulation skills.

Strategies for effectively facilitating therapeutic conversations Going a bit deeper, how can you start a conversation with your child once he/she is ready to talk to you? You have to establish rapport and trust between you and your child by practicing active listening.

Here are some tips: 1. Ask questions and listen attentively to what the individual is saying, both verbally and non-verbally

2. Be watchful of person’s facial expression tone of voice when sharing

3. Reflect their thoughts and feelings to show understanding and validation

Examples of reflecting thoughts/feelings:

  • Let’s see if I understand correctly...

  • You feel…when you..

  • I can tell that you are…

  • It seems that…

  • It sounds/looks like..

  • I guess that...

Examples of validation:

4. Paraphrase or ask clarifying questions to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences

5. Allow for pauses and stillness However, practicing active listening is easier said than done. It may take a while to get the hang of it and be comfortable with it, but keep trying to see what works best!

When facilitating therapeutic conversations, always remember these 3 things: 1. Noticing me: Self-awareness, knowing your own feelings and thoughts 2. Noticing you: Being present for your child, acknowledging them 3. Ask open-ended questions & encourage expression:Being curious and encouraging about what they want to say

When you are intentional in the time you set aside with your child, and the effort put in to have important conversations with them, not only do you get to know your child better, but you also build a deeper connection with them.


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