“One of the most widespread superstitions is that every man has his own special, definite qualities: That a man is kind, cruel, wise, stupid, energetic, apathetic, etc. Men are not like that…men are like rivers…every river narrows here, is more rapid there, here slower, there broader, now clear, now cold, now dull, now warm. It is the same with men. Every man carries in himself the germs of every human quality, and sometimes one manifests itself, sometimes another, and the man often becomes unlike himself, while still remaining the same man.” – Tolstoy
First name it, then tame it!
Never deny a child’s feelings. Accept them all. Cherish them all! Emotions are natural reactions and should be understood by the parent. When the parent can understand the emotion, they can coach the child on how to deal with the emotion.
- Recognise your child is emotional.
- Name the emotion.
- Understand what caused the emotion.
- Decide how to deal with the emotion. Reassure them if necessary.
NEVER DENY A CHILD’S EMOTIONS!
Denying children’s emotions seem to come naturally and we often feel as though we are bringing the child comfort by denying how they are feeling. The opposite is actually true.
A parent says: “You’re not scared.” “You don’t need to be sad.” “You are not stupid.”
By denying the child’s feelings, the child is left confused and unable to trust him/herself.
Rather it is better to say:
“You feel scared.” “You are sad.” “You feel stupid.”
This leaves the child feeling understood and confident in their own self analysis. Validation opens up the child to receive coaching on how to handle the feelings they are experiencing.
Sometimes it can be difficult to understand a child’s emotions. The more time spent observing, interacting and listening to your child, the more you will naturally be able to understand how they are feeling.
A guide can be helpful for children when trying to attach a name to their emotion. The following chart is a good example we have seen work for our children to help them express their feelings.
There is a great app to help better understand the science behind this and it gives practical help in small doses. https://www.humanimprovement.org/