EQI.org Home | Respect | Emotional Literacy | Invalidation| Understanding | Empathy | Listening | Parenting

Respect and Feelings in the Family

from http://urbanext.illinois.edu/familyworks/respect-01.html

Families: Don't forget feelings!

Feelings are the emotional and physical responses to what we think about and how we react to daily events. Feelings are natural—we can't stop them from happening. Because we are all different, we respond to feelings in various ways, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively. By acting conscioiusly towards our feelings, in both words and actions, we can learn to respect ourselves and others.

There are many myths about feelings. For example:

"Feelings, that sissy stuff." Recognizing that feelings are real and natural for everyone is important. Some of us may never acknowledge that emotions or feelings are a part of living. It may be difficult for some of us to talk about our feelings. An important step in building self awareness and relationships with others is learning about personal feelings. Most mentally healthy individuals learn to accept feelings, both good and bad.

Feelings don't exist, or they are dangerous — so no one should talk about them. Denial of feelings can damage relationships and can build up emotions to the point of eruption of negative behavior, such as when a frustrated person hits the table. Not being able to talk to those we respect about our feelings may cause a "shut down" emotionally. Talking about personal feelings with your family may help. But if it doesn't you may need to talk about your feelings with someone else.

Instead of denying feelings, it is healthier to give them words. Feelings tell us something about ourself, just like an information chart. Develop a list of "feeling words" and mount them on the wall or the back of the door. Here are some of the most common negative feelings.

To help create an enviroment of mutual respect in your family, become an "emotionally literate" family. One of the most important things you can do to create mutual respect in a family is to never invalidate someone's feelings.

Try to spend time each day, perhaps at the dinner table or in a private conversation, talking about feelings. Teach your children by example, to use the zero to ten scale. For example, "I feel afraid 8 that you will be sleepy tomorrow if you don't go to bed soon." Learn to be a good listener. Learn to validate feelings and to show empathy and understanding:

Here are more suggestions for how to talk about feelings:

Today I felt ________ because __________.

I really was scared when _______ so I ___________.

I felt embarrassed when ________ because ______.

These activities can encourage an open communication of feelings and respect with the family.

Adapted from urbanext.illinois.edu/familyworks/respect-01.html

EQI.org Home Page

Other EQI.org Topics:

Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Abuse
Emotional Literacy
Respect | Parenting
Listening | Invalidation
Depression |Education
Personal Growth

Support EQI.org