All humans, young or old, experience plenty of emotions each and every day – it’s part of life! For adults it is easier, comparatively, to grasp the feelings and emotions they feel, be able to name what they are feeling and even decipher why they are feeling that way.
But children, lacking emotional development and the language skills to explain themselves, can often become frustrated. It’s important to work with children on their emotional development as they need help from the elders in their lives including parents, siblings, teachers, relatives and society in general to help identify and cope with feelings. Feelings aren’t bad and it’s crucial they know they’re okay.
Talking to children about heightened feelings like sadness, anger or shame requires a different approach than when you are talking to adults about it, especially when they may be introverts.
Emotion coaching is a process of reaching into a child’s feelings and helping him/her in learning to manage difficult emotions, is helpful in this regard.
Read below for some tips on how to talk to your children about their heightened or difficult feelings:
Seeing, Listening & not dismissing:
A child needs to see that a parent or elder sibling cares about him/her. If the child is feeling sad about something, consider how you react and the repercussions.
Dismissing and ignoring
Things that children get upset about can seem trivial to adults, and it may seem easier to dismiss or ignore an outburst. But this can lead to a pattern where children feel they cannot speak out about heightened or difficult feelings and take away the opportunity for finding solutions.
Example: On seeing the child sad (not eating properly, not talking etc.)
Parent: What’s wrong?
Child: I miss seeing my friends today.
Parent: Don’t worry, you can see them later.
The child still feels sad but now internalizes their feelings.
Listening and caring
This helps the child in thinking that talking about a difficult emotion will help and allows them to know all feelings are valid.
Parent: Hey, are you feeling okay?
Child: I miss my friends.
Parent: That’s okay, I also sometimes miss my friends but then I know I will see them soon, so I don’t have to worry or feel sad.
This example can be explained in Emotional Coaching terms as follows:
- The feeling was noticed before becoming intense
- The feeling was validated, and empathy was shown
- The child was able to describe the feeling in words thus making him/her understand as well
- Problem-solving was focused
- The parent became a role model which leads to a better understanding in the future
Also, the child now knows a few things:
One, sadness is not permanent.
Two, sharing a problem will help in resolving it.
Three, the parent cares about the child.
Reach out to Happy Journeys:
We, at Happy Journeys, offer more than just daycare; from starting your child’s education, to complete groundwork for schooling, and then establishing a prosperous ride going beyond learning and giving the child a perfect opportunity to grow, explore, learn and play in a warm and secure environment.
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