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Don’t think, Feel #2

After 18 years of counseling with parents from every walk of life and their children, I have come to understand patterns that cause “difficulties”. This is not a skill that can be acquired without doing practical professional work for a long time.

Simply put, some difficulties are very hard for family members to notice.

Of course, even as a professional counselor, it is impossible for children to be able to communicate smoothly with adults they don’t even know who they are meeting for the first time. If a child didn’t have difficulties with it, I would be a little worried in a different way. Most of the time, the children are silent at first when I ask them questions, and after a while, they look at their mother. It doesn’t matter how bad the relationship is, children still look to their parents. It is really hard when children can’t even sit with us.

This is another point that I value in my assessment. Since we are professionals, we have the means to counter any silence, and sooner or later, the children start to say a few words. All of a sudden, the mother interrupts the child and begins to say her own opinions.

This is pattern one.

Naturally, when this starts, the mother begins to speak without regard to what the child is saying. At first, the child asks for help, but gradually their face begins to darken. This is the moment when we get a glimpse of the ingrained “communication culture” between the parents and children.

When they are trying to verbalize their thoughts and convey them to someone, the parent interrupts the child before they can even get to the end of a sentence. This puts the child under tremendous stress. If this is repeated on a daily basis, the child will stop trying to communicate. It’s like starting to build a building, only to have someone else take it over halfway through, so it’s natural to stop trying in the first place. It is not hard to imagine that children’s social skills will be underdeveloped, even though they may be able to communicate well enough get through daily life with their families.

Beginning and Ending

These difficulties in communication are also an essential part of it. When we speak to someone, it’s amazing to have the feeling of wanting to participate and speak your thoughts.

Above all, we have to let children speak at least until the end of their sentence. That’s how we will start to repair our relationships with them. I especially suggest that parents of children that are still growing up give it a try. There’s a limit on the number of chances we’ll have to communicate with children.

-Hidetaka Nagaoka

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