Acceptance is key to feeling part of a society. It is also important in the relationship between a parent and child. In what ways can parental acceptance help children to develop and how can you follow this method?
HOW DO WE DEFINE ACCEPTANCE?
Acceptance is different from agreement. Agreement means an opinion that is the same as another opinion or feeling. However, acceptance does not involve opinions; acceptance is an acknowledgment and an attempt to understand emotions, the way that someone is feeling. You may not agree with their behaviour, but you can accept the emotions causing this behaviour. Parental acceptance follows this, but is focused on accepting the feelings of your children.
HOW CAN PARENTAL ACCEPTANCE BENEFIT CHILDREN?
When a parent is more open to a child’s expression of emotions, the child is more likely to feel confident, and to believe in themselves. This can encourage the child to be more ambitious and try harder to live the life they want to lead later on.
The relationship between parent and child will grow. This is because your child will feel more comfortable around you. Your child will also learn empathy. You will show them that to listen and understand is more important than to react immediately.
Listening to any strong negative feelings can also help decrease these feelings.
THE STEPS TO FOLLOW:
- Listen to your child and what they have to say. Watch their behaviour.
- Think about how your child may be feeling. Ask yourself some questions: ‘how is my child feeling? What are they trying to tell me?’
- Show that you have seen and understood your child’s feelings. You do not need to offer suggestions or criticism. The simplest way to do this is to say ‘I understand.’
A PLACE FOR CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM
There are other important ways to allow your children to grow and sometimes it is necessary to criticise the way your child acts in order to explain the difference between right and wrong behaviour.
Acceptance has many positive impacts on a child’s mental health, and may also benefit your relationship. Parental acceptance does not mean that you have to agree with your child’s feelings, but that you will support, encourage and try to understand them and help them develop self-awareness as best as they can. However, it is a style of parenting that is not always the most efficient and you should decide according to your own values when to listen and when to act.