Teach Your Child To Express Emotions Positively
Let’s face it — no matter how “angelic” you think your children are, there will be times in your life as a parent when you’ll find yourself dealing with your kids’ annoying behavior; attempting to calm them down when you won’t buy what they want; and feeling helpless when they start “acting out” or throwing tantrums.
Although there are several tried-and-tested ways on how to deal with such episodes, parents may also want to know how to teach their children to “channel” or refocus their negative emotions, so that they can avoid the dreaded tantrums in the first place.
Here are few tips for doing the above mentioned “channeling” of emotions:
- Coach your child or walk them through different situations (e.g. playing at the school playground; or going grocery shopping) so that they will know what to expect from each, setting or situation. Also, parents will be able to set guidelines on expected behavior for each specific scenario. This would also help them to anticipate the possible situations that can trigger tantrums.
- At the onset of your child’s tantrum, help him label or name his feelings e.g. “I am tired,” “I am frustrated,” “I am angry,” etc. By identifying his feelings, parents can then take the next step towards helping the child manage his emotions.
- If the child is already throwing a fit, do your best to ignore the tantrum. Say something like, “I’ll give you a few minutes to cry then I’ll come back. I will talk to you if you’re no longer crying.” Kids will usually calm down after a while. Make sure though that they are left in a place that is hazard-free.
- In relation to ignoring your kid’s tantrums, do your best not to react negatively to her “episodes” too. If you know your child is just trying to get attention, you need to realize that positive or negative attention is still attention. If you react negatively, say by shouting, or by rushing to try to “coddle” your child, then she may come to the conclusion that tantrums are a good way to get your attention.
- Help your child express himself appropriately regarding his feelings, preferences, thoughts and insights. Helping the child to communicate would develop insight and reasoning and avoid further emotional outburst.
At the end of the day, teaching our kids to express and manage their emotions will contribute to their overall emotional health. This is crucial for their development as positive, successful members of society.
However, parents also need to remember that if they themselves are somewhat “lacking” in the emotional intelligence department, they also need to take the steps towards being emotionally healthy themselves.