• Hany Cheng

Tracking and Responding to My Child

Sunday, September 3, 2017-Hany Cheng

To recap, here are the goals of filial therapy.

Goal 1: The encouragement of allowing the child to fully self-determined the activities within a certain limits.

Goal 2: Parents get to increase emphatic understanding towards the child’s needs and feelings.

Goal 3: The child feels accepted by parents.

Goal 4: The child learns to see and accept responsibility and consequences for his actions.

RELATED: How Can Filial Therapy Help My Family?

Now that we know what can be achieved through filial therapy, it's time to learn how to achieve it. And it's through these skills.


When the child is engaging in his world with the toys, we may verbalize his actions by describing what is he doing. The rationale is to communicate to the child that the parent is following and engaging with his play.

Example, “You pick the toys up and line them all together.”

Reflective responding

To follow a child’s lead is to be able to empathize the child’s feelings. Parents are encouraged to identify the child’s feelings through his facial expressions and tone of voice.

Next, parents will communicate it to the child to help the child feel that he is understood and his feelings are accepted. Example, “You seem sad when the toy breaks!” 

This also helps the child to expand their vocabulary as they learn that there's not just happy and sad, but excited, furious, delighted, etc.

These insightful skills don't just end here. Up next, are the last 2 skills - limit setting and encouragement. Keep your eyes peeled for it!

Hany Cheng is a licensed mental health counselor. She is passionate in helping families to enhance their parent-child relationship through filial therapy. Currently, she is pursuing her PHD in researching the topic of applying filial therapy in Malaysia. She is also the co-founder of Havan Clothing - a social enterprise that empowers children's artwork through fashionable clothing.





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