When setting empathic limits, it can be easy for us to feel uncomfortable and end up judging or shaming our child for what they are wanting. If we are feeling grounded and confident, we can offer loving acceptance of our child’s desires, while gently saying no (or not now).
“I hear you’d really like some lollies. Those ones look really yummy, huh? And it’s not time for sweet things now.”
“Wow! You really love that toy! It looks really cool, huh? And we aren’t buying toys today.”
“I really get that you’d like me to play more with you. It’s so much fun when we play like that, isn’t it? And I need to stop for now.”
If you are finding it hard to empathise with your child’s want for sugary foods, another toy, more time with you or anything else, it can sometimes help to look back on your own childhood and remember what it was like for you to want something similar.
Sometimes we can remember how dearly we wanted something similar, and also offer our child self the empathy, understanding and acceptance she may have been longing for, but possibly not experienced at the time. And if healing tears come, welcome them. The release of feelings will likely help you feel lighter and more flexible around the topic.