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November 11, 2012

Decode a Feeling

Pictures create the right words

What it is

Creating a mutually experienced understanding of something intangible. 

Why it's Important

Powerful influence requires personal connection. Nothing is more personal than sharing the understanding of a feeling. 

The Problem

Feelings are just so … um, so … hard to describe.  It takes practice and mature language skills.  

 

The ability to influence our kids is at risk when we rely on their limited language. 

Vocabulary + Experience = Language

The Tip

When words fail--draw!

Help your kids discover the right words as they draw the feeling.

Step 1

Supplies

  1. Erasable colored pencils in basic colors
  2. Blank body outlines

Psst:  Print a blank body outline here or just draw something.

Step 2

Practice

Try drawing a proud feeling using your supplies.  It’s harder than you think.  By practicing first, you’ll be able to help coach your child when it’s his turn.

 

Do make your drawing VERY basic using lines, circles, stars, etc.

 

Don’t draw anything specific, such as a balloon, flower, or sun.  Feelings are sensations—not “things.”

Step 3

Demonstrate

Draw a feeling for your child.

  

Do  draw a happy feeling.

 

Don’t  draw your reaction to something your child has done. Promote independent ownership of feelings.

 

Do keep your drawing time short and your narration even shorter.

 

Don’t apologize for artistic talent so that your child will feel safe to create freely.

Step 4

Invite

When you recognize a happy or proud moment for your child, invite her to draw it for you.  Sharing a feeling is a deeply personal gift, so make sure to introduce it as an option within her power of choice.

 

“Remember when I drew my happiness the other day?  Would you like to try drawing yours now?”

  You Rock!

Step 5

Debrief

Approach it as if you don’t already know the answers.   Ask questions that help your child discover himself:

 

“What happened right before you noticed the tingling in your heart?”

 

“When have you felt your throat like this before?"

Benefits!

Language Develops

As she draws her feelings she will find more words.

Peace

Misunderstandings are often the root of separation and conflict.

Trust

Acknowledging his courage to trust you with his precious feelings means your confirming how precious those feelings really are.

Influence

Simply put:   You can’t influence that which you don’t understand.

Promise Kept

We promise to teach our kids how to make good choices.  By helping your child uncover patterns in her feelings you help her understand and trust her intuition.  Connected to the wisdom of her intuition, she can choose wisely.

 

Related Articles: Communication Style, Communication Top 10

Related Tip of the Week: Make Sense, Influence Backfires

 

Peacemaker Coach Tip of the Week - Decode a Feeling

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