The old saying, “Kids should be seen, not heard” is just that, OLD! This statement makes my head spin, and saddens me. Why should kids not be heard? They have so many beautiful and insightful things to say, and are really funny. I love listening to my daughter just talk about the random thoughts that come into her 7 year old head. I love that she thinks “outside of the box”, without the constraints of society. Why would I want to put a stop to that? What message would that send to her if I did?
When we allow kids to have a voice, they learn so much. They learn how to problem solve verbally, they learn to stand up for themselves, they learn to use words to get a message across, they learn that words have power and how to use them so that they keep their dignity and respect and that they do the same for others.
I let my daughter have her emotions, I let her feel, I then ask her to give her emotions words (I don’t say that, I just ask her to tell me about why she is, sad, angry, irritated, etc). Sometimes she will tell me, “I don’t know why I am upset” and that is okay. Other times, after she is calm, she can articulate what the issue was. She knows that her words have power and she knows that when she can share her feelings, she feels better. NOW, there are times when I am having my own emotions and I don’t honor hers like I should, but when I stop, I realize I am not honoring my own. Funny how what works with kiddos works with us!
So allow your kids to express themselves. Allow yourself to express yourself to them. When we speak and listen with sincerity, people of all ages feel it. Kids are learning, they are absorbing, they are watching us, much more closely then we want to believe. Let them be heard AND seen. Let them voice their thoughts, they have some great ones. And adults, remember, sometimes we just need to shut our mouth and be seen, and not heard! Let it be their turn!