I think that feeling ignored is one of the worst sensations one can experience.
When someone ignores you, it’s as if he despised you, as if you were not important, as if what you are worried about or what you express were insignificant.
Today, many families are advised, wrongly, to ignore children when they are in an emotionally intense moment, or to play down what children feel, say or do, as if it was something irrelevant.
Using this type of “techniques” with your children will bring two clear effects: increased discomfort and a more obvious separation between you.
I propose an empathic exercise to you:
Imagine that you have presented at work, at last, that important project to your management team. You’ve been preparing it for months, and you think that this time, you’ll be promoted. Despite your efforts, it doesn’t seem good enough, but your workmate’s work does. You arrive home hopeless, stunned, and wanting to cry. You find your partner making dinner, and you burst, cry, tell how you feel, and that you need a hug. However, he/she looks at you, tells you that there’s no need to get like that, and keeps doing as if nothing had happened, as if it wasn’t that bad… How would you feel?
Imagine that today your son has finally shown that important essay in front of his classmates that he’d been preparing for weeks. But it hasn’t gone well at school; teachers seemed more interested in the work of a fellow who presented on the same day. So your son arrives at home demoralized, sad, and wanting to cry. You prepare him a snack and tell him that it isn’t that bad and that if his friend has done better, he can try next time. And you continue with your things. How would he feel like?
This time you are angry at the world because you cannot buy everything you want. Your friend has just bought that coat you liked so much, but $200 are impossible at this moment and much less to spend it on a coat (which, in fact, you don’t need). You sit in the park and cry; you get mad, you complain about how your disastrous economy doesn’t allow you to have a single whim. Your partner looks at you poker-faced and goes to play with the kids, without saying a word. You’d feel terrible, wouldn’t you? You could do with some words of support and a comforting hug, huh?
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Ignoring a person is one of the worst things that can be done. If you have experienced something like this in your adult life, you know that it’s not pleasant at all.
Some of the consequences it has for children are:
Lack of self-esteem: when they are ignored, they integrate that they are nobody, that their feelings are not relevant; and so they grow, with this sense of not being important to anyone.
Little capacity for empathy: if parents don’t show support when children need it, it’s impossible for them to generate this value by themselves. Because they don’t even experience it in their own skin. If your loved ones are not empathetic to you, how are you going to be empathetic with others?
Problems to recognize and express their emotions: if they cannot express themselves in freedom, it will be difficult for them to know how to recognize what they’re feeling at each moment, and how to express it. Not only in their childhood, but also in adolescence and adult life.
Mistrust and detachment: logically, when someone else needs you and your attitude is cold and strained, this will cause a rift in your relationship, and little by little the link and trust are lost. It’s funny how some adults, who admit feeling hurt by growing apart from some friends, for this reason, don’t realize that, with this type of attitude with children, there will be the same result.
Your children need you. They need your listening, your support, your understanding, your laughter, your hugs, your affection, your kisses, your dialogue, your company, your look, your pat on the back…
They need YOU.
Every time you ignore your child, even if he’s in an emotionally intense moment, remind yourself what it means for him: loneliness and sadness.
I trust that you’ll do your utmost to improve and have a better relationship with your children, based on love and respect.
Lots of love and remember, if you liked it… please, share!
Thank you 😉
Parent & Teacher Educator, Author, Expert in Respectful Education, and Founder of Edurespect School