This blog post is Part 2 of 6 in our ‘INVITE’ series. If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 here!
The next letter INVITE is N: N for Notice & Name Neutrally.
Everyone knows the age-old story of the Titanic, and the lesson we gleaned from it about icebergs… When it comes to an iceberg, there is more than meets the eye!
The same goes for your kids’ actions and our feelings – the tip of the iceberg is the visible portion: what you can perceive with your 5 senses. You might think of some challenging or undesirable behaviours: shouting at their siblings, rolling their eyes, waking up late, using their phones too much…
Beneath the iceberg lies the invisible thoughts and feelings in your child’s heart. This could involve their self-esteem, their triggers, their fears, and their dreams.
A chunk of ice peeking out from the water’s surface is a clue! It’s a sign for ship captains that indicates the presence of something more under the water.
Similarly, we urge you to think of your child’s behaviour as a clue – a sign that points you towards some invisible thoughts and feelings below the surface. The skill of noticing and naming allows you to point out what you see.
Noticing and naming your child’s behaviour is…
If you remember that what you notice is only the tip of the iceberg, you can follow up by diving a little deeper. The trick to diving deeper is making visible what is invisible – try to name specific emotions or ask curiously about their thoughts.
Parents, can you think of an observable behaviour that triggers you? How do you typically respond to it? What could you say to go beneath the surface of that behaviour?
“Notice & Name” is only the second letter in our acronym, INVITE! It’s a great way to begin a conversation with your child, knowing that starting with open-mindedness and lack of judgement will set a loving tone for the rest of your conversation.