Fourth step – empathise. This step is to connect with the emotion your child is feeling, depending on the clues they have given you:
“So what I am hearing you say is that you are feeling really jealous of Eric’s Xbox and his phone and you wish you had these things too. The Xbox has such cool games, and you feel left out when the other kids discuss this at lunch time.”
“So what I am hearing you say is that you want to be able to buy treats for your mates, because you feel like it is your turn! Other people are always buying things from the tuck shop for you… so you feel like you need to be able to do this back?”
Again, this is not a lecture about values or life lessons. At this point we are simply interested in his emotional world. We might go back and forth between naming the emotion and empathising, several times. This is good. He may have several emotions and circumstances that he is explaining to you and you are simply showing that you find his emotions understandable.
Remember, you don’t have to agree with your child’s emotions or perspective, you are simply connecting with your child, and they will feel deeply connected to you while you do this.