One of the things I don’t like in many parenting books, but have found no research pro- or against- is this idea that you’re supposed to tell little kids how they’re feeling. The books tend to call it “acknowledging feelings” and it’s what you’re supposed to do instead of praise, instead of solving kids’ problems, interfering in sibling conflicts, and a number of other verboten parent-interactions, depending on which parenting book or “expert” you’re following.
My first problem with this is, even if my kid is only two, how the hell am I supposed to know what he or she is feeling better than ze does? Isn’t it presumptuous of me to say, “You’re sad because X” or “I can see that you’re angry”? Sometimes I will ask, “Are you sad?” But, I’d get pretty pissed off if someone told *me* what I was feeling. I think even very small children deserve more respect and agency than that.
My second problem with this, and mind you, this is correlation, not causation, is that I’ve hung around parents that use these techniques and their kids are either 1. holy terrors or 2. hold a bit of contempt (or just healthy ignoring) for their parents whenever their parents pull this crap. In practice, it doesn’t seem effective. But the parents who follow “experts” blindly tend to be less confident in their parenting in other ways, so it might be something else going on and not a problem with the actual (unproven) technique.
Do you think it’s appropriate to tell small children how they’re feeling?