Selective mutism tip: Don’t reassure your child

Stop Reassuring Your Child.

Yes. You read that right. I am telling you to stop doing something that sounds completely counter-intuitive, right?

You see, the thing is… I need you stop telling you child that “everything is going to be okay” and “there is nothing to worry about.” I know you have good intentions with these phrases, after all… you just want to comfort your grieving child.

What you are actually doing when you tell them there is nothing to worry about, is making them feel as if their worries are not important. Maybe something is wrong with them if they are worrying. I am sure that is the opposite of what you are attempting to do.

In addition, your reassuring is not actually going to be heard. Due to the chemicals being dumped by into the brain during the moment of a crisis, your child is unable to reason or understand the reassuring comments you are trying to give them.

What can you do instead?

Validate.

Next time your child is worried and upset, let them know you hear what they are saying and you are there for them. Listen to their worries and let them know that together you will go through this. Validating means acknowledging, NOT saying don’t be scared of anything. It

Take a moment to take a few deep breathes. Validate their feelings and then once they have reached a state of calm you can work together to find some solutions.

Change Your Own Thinking to Match Your Child’s New Found Confidence

As your child overcomes worry and defeats fear, he/she will develop a new sense of self and a new inner voice—one that’s full of confidence instead of worry. You might find yourself scrambling to keep up.

 

Anna Biavati-Smith
Specialist Speech and language Therapist
© Copyright 2017 edinburgh-speech-therapy-wordsteps.co.uk . All rights reserved.
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