I always said it was important to teach your child about emotions and try to explain to them what certain emotions represent. I’ve always taught Ziana what certain emotions looked like and tried my best to explain to her what they meant; or act out what they meant. As a parent we all know how frustrating it can be to not know what our child is feeling in a moment of a melt down; all we know is that their embarrassing us and they’re misbehaving. We sometimes don’t stop to think that maybe our child is just crying their eyes out because they actually have a reason. We are so wrapped up in doing the mommy/daddy duties and living in this fast-paced life we skip over their feelings and just get mad. I’m guilty of it! I’m also a yeller that’s just how I communicated growing up in my family that’s how we spoke to one another– and although looking back on it now it might be quite comical, living in it was not fun.
We get mad because we think our kid is just throwing tantrums just to throw them (sometimes they are), but for the most part they’re angry because they can’t express their feelings. I mean they barely know what they’re feeling at times so how could you blame them? We need to start talking to our children and asking why it is their mad– of course this all depends on their age. My child is 2 and a half so it’s a tad bit easier for her to explain why she’s mad at the world than say a 10-month-old. I try to have her calm down and have her use breathing techniques to relax. Once the screeching yells are out the way she tries her best to explain and if I still have no idea what’s going on I have her take my hand to show me. This usually works and I’ll explain to her that there’s no need to get frustrated and to calm down or ask for help. I also make sure to label the feelings I think she’s exhibiting. Now for kids who are more verbal make sure to have them not only tell you what their feeling, but make sure they tell you why they feel that way.
As Consistent Parenting Advice explains; we need to also lead by example, befriend our own feelings. Feelings that are suppressed, repressed and bottled away cause people to become: cold, distant, defensive, bitter, resentful, angry, spiteful, depressed, guilty, anxious, contemptuous, distrustful, and shameful, and dozens of other feelings. So why not teach our child to express their sadness? Happiness? Anxiety? Frustration? Their issues may not be as hard-core as ours, but make their feelings count and matter.
One of the most important emotions I believe is feeling sorry. I believe this really teaches your child to understand how their actions may have made someone else feel– having hit someone or being mean to someone. I’ve also learned to apologize to Ziana after having raised my voice and express why I was mad at that moment. I’ve also worked on before reaching that level of being mad to calm myself down before overreacting. This also works with teaching your child to take their own time out and calming themselves down before they are sent to time out.
Now it’s easier said than done so make sure to not only teach your child to express their feelings, but to follow through with expressing your feelings and not flying off the handle when someone cuts you off for example. You want to practice communication with your child and reward them when they express themselves in a positive way. We all love to be noticed or rewarded when we do something good no matter how old we are so this will surely help them model positive behaviors.
My homework to you parents is to practice emotions with your child and snap a few pictures because I assure you they will be cute!
Also, make sure to try these fun activities with your kiddies:
1. Creating a “Wheel Of Choices” like PSRideAWeb suggests:
2. Make a “feelings Box” like Salsa Pie suggests: LOVE THIS BY THE WAY!
3. Or simply have the whole family sit down every night alongside a chart with many different feelings and discuss each others feelings from that day. This shows that not only the kids have feelings, but parents do too.