Help your children manage their emotions and become independent thinkers.
In all our dealings with children, we need to remember that their behaviour is always driven by their emotions. When your child suddenly gets angry about something, which you feel is trivial, stop yourself from responding to the behaviour and instead consider the feelings behind it.
This certainly does not mean you should allow your child to behave in any way they want, certainly not, but much in the same way as adults have bad days, children do too. Using a more emotion coaching approach allows you to validate the emotions behind your child’s behaviour, and then together you can work on problem-solving a more appropriate choice next time.
Adopting this strategy builds your child’s emotional language, boosts their confidence, whilst promoting a more resilient approach to resolving life’s challenges. All of which is good for positive mental health.
Here are 5 steps on how to help your children deal with their emotions.
1. Use emotional language
Use emotional language when you communicate with your child, for example, “it makes me upset when you shout at me”, “I feel very angry with your choice of behaviour right now”.
2. Model appropriate behaviour
Model appropriate behaviour when dealing with emotionally charges situations, for
example, “I feel really angry the plumber hasn’t arrived when he said he would. I think I’d better make myself a drink before I call, so I don’t shout at him”.
3. Acknowledge your child’s emotions
Acknowledge your child’s emotions, for example, “I can see you are really angry because
your brother/sister is playing with your toy”.
Communicate the agreed house rules, for example, “we don’t hit”, or “we don’t shout”.
5. Help them problem solve
Help them problem solve and find more appropriate choices with their behaviour for next time, for example, “how else could you tell your brother/sister you don’t want them playing with your toy?”, or “how else could you tell me how angry I you are?”
This might all seem like a great deal of hard work, yet in my experience whilst it takes more thinking time initially, in the long run, it will create a new way of thinking which will help your children not only manage their emotions but also become independent thinkers.
These tips come in perfect timing with National Children’s day this Sunday.
This article is by our expert contributor Dr Maryhan Baker.