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Ask the Experts: My child seems troubled; what can I do to help?

Q:  My child seems troubled; what can I do to help?

A: Listen and try to identify the feeling that’s behind the words. Be emphatic. Stand in their shoes and see what it might feel like. Reflect back to them ‘sounds as if you’re a bit  …’ ‘you seem a bit off colour at the moment’ ‘I’m guessing something’s happened as you seem….’

‘You’re very out of sorts… ’ Then listen, and allow them to express how they feel.  A sense of being truly understood and being treated with compassion and patience can provide the safety for the child to reveal what the problem is.  I can guarantee you that when you actively listen, get under the stand the child is trying to make and show compassion and are patient; your child will open up… as it’s now safe.

Answer provided by Sheila O'Malley from Practical Parenting

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