Emotions are our natural responses to what happens around us. They are the very foundation of our existence. Our little ones experience various emotions through the day at school, home and play dates. While they are usually honest in expressing their feelings, sometimes, they find it difficult to cope with certain emotions. This is when life skills education plays a vital role. It provides guidance in understanding the emotions, and also the parenting ways that can help children to cope with them.
Emotions are meant to be felt
First of all, let's understand as parents, that emotions are meant to be felt. That is the healthiest way to cope with them. When our children are happy, we don’t stop them from feeling it, but the moment they cry or show anger, we want to quiet them, because it's not a pleasant sight. To let the emotions settle, it's best to let them experience it. So whichever emotion arises, let your kids feel it.
There are no negative emotions
The cognitive therapy considers all emotions as equal. This means happiness, sadness, anger and joy are all equal for your brain to respond well. However, emotions like hatred, rage, jealousy are socially perceived as negative. Hence, it is important that we give equal acknowledgement to such emotions as not expressing them has harmful effects on child behavior. A good way to do this is to tell them – "Cry until you're calm and then we will talk. Or, you're feeling sad, it's ok. We will talk about it in the evening."
Assure children that it's ok to be angry
While we are too busy in quieting the children when they are angry, we forget that they are going through internal turmoil too. The only way to calm it is by letting them identify with their feelings. Assure them that it’s ok to feel angry. This helps them calm down. Then help them understand why anger is natural but acting under anger's influence is not.
Help children understand what they feel
Most of the times, children are unaware of what they are feeling. When they are sad, they find it difficult to accept and acknowledge it. It is not a natural way of being for them. When you observe such child behavior, talk to them. Start by asking them questions about their day. Their responses will give you a clue about what triggered the sad emotions.
Let's cope with emotions together
There is no better way of upbringing than supporting your children in coping with life. Whenever your kids are happy, join them. When they are not, support them. Also, consistently reinstate that one doesn't need to feel any emotion for too long and it's easy to come out of it. Once learnt, this lesson will help them cope with emotions all their life.
So parents, let's nurture kid's emotional wellbeing, shall we?
Further Reading : EMPATHY - A LESSON FOR LIFETIME