Posts Tagged ‘children’

I used to joke that I should quit my job as a journalist and become a picture clown because I can make unhappy children smile. Now, I’m not saying I’m a “kid person,” but apparently I have a gift beyond writing.

How do I do it? How do I see distraught children acting out and hear them cry or hear their tragic stories and actually make a difference? I use my silliness and humor at times, of course, but the real answer is simple: I take the time.

I see kids who are upset, crying, throwing fits or whatever and I can give them my “I’m listening” look or say, “What is that about?” and suddenly I find myself with a calm child (even if its temporary). I tend to use a kid-like approach, make silly faces and/or offer a hug and kids respond to this. Even some very challenging kids whom I have seen or worked with (usually minus the hug in the latter situation).

In the counseling setting, there must always be boundaries and with children who have attachment disorders and/or attention-seeking behaviors, a very clear boundary must be set. While we can help those children, we can’t become someone upon whom they are dependent and we can’t become their friends. However, I still find that we can make a difference just by offering a less directive approach, getting on their level and opening our ears to what is going on. If it takes a bit of humor to get the kid to crack, well I don’t see anything ethically wrong with that.

For kids who aren’t clients (the screaming baby beside you in a restaurant; the four year old who insists that his mother buy him a bike, etc) maybe we can all take just a few moments to inquire, pay attention, and soothe.

Just something to think about…


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