Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway is taking parenting tips from none other than British royals Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Mother to two-and-a-half-year-old son Jonathan Rosebanks, Hathaway recently revealed this in an interview with The Sunday Times. The actress has started following the royal couple’s practice of bending down to maintain eye contact with their children while speaking, she said.
“They (the royal couple) get down on the child’s level and speak to them eye to eye to make their child feel empowered. I thought that was really cool. I started doing that with Jonathan,” the Ocean’s 8 diva was quoted as saying.
It’s no secret that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been hands-on parents and their adorable pictures with their children on social media are proof. From taking children to school to travelling with them on official tours, the doting parents have won hearts time and again.
The royal couple has been seen squatting on several occasions to talk to their children.
How can bending down and looking into your child’s eyes while talking help?
Dr Debmita Dutta, parenting consultant and founder, What Parents Ask, explained, “When you are looking into someone’s eyes, you don’t usually think of something else and so, you listen to the person. Parents often complain about their children not listening to them. Primarily, that’s because we don’t listen to them. So, when you bend down and look into the child’s eyes while speaking, he or she actually feels heard, even if what they are saying may seem inconsequential. The child will also listen to what you have to say, which is ultimately what we, as parents, are trying to achieve. Most of the time, children are throwing tantrums because nobody is listening to them. A major part of the conversation with a child is either instructional or transactional.”
Besides, looking into one’s eyes also releases oxytocin or what is commonly called the hormone of love and social bonding, added Dr Dutta. “Oxytocin is secreted when you look into one’s eyes. When you look into a child’s eyes, he or she feels much more secure. It gives children a lot of courage,” she said.
A child might also on occasions feel nervous when surrounded by too many adults. “When you bend down, you see the world through the eyes of the child, who may otherwise feel frightened among adults,” the parenting coach said.
Dr Dutta further pointed out we instinctively know the effect of looking into one’s eyes, which explains why parents look directly into their child’s eyes when they scold on being angry. “But of course, you are choosing the wrong path to be listened to, which is usually some threat or warning. Parents can do the same thing with love instead of anger,” she suggested.