Photo Jun 18 12 37 29 PM     There are so many adults that are completely unaware of the organic nature of their emotions. Feelings creep up on them at unexpected times and they totally loose control to them. Emotions are not negative. They are actually a major part of being human. They are also not categorized as bad or good. But some emotions such as happiness are definitely easier to cope with than others. This makes it very important for children to be taught how to properly identify, process and live with emotions.

    Identifying is the very important first step and can avoid further unnecessary “damage”. For example, if a child rises  in a bad mood, little things might trigger anger or even rage. If a child is taught to properly identify their feelings they can acknowledge the fact that they may be in a bad mood and follow a previously learned game plan. In our home our game plan is set to help with processing. We vocalize the emotion, “mom, I think I am in a bad mood”. Then the child will retreat to a place they find peaceful and the rest of the people will respect their space. During this time the child takes the time to work through that emotion and basically calm down.

     Obviously, this may not be the case for every emotion as some last a lot longer. Sadness for example might last longer and require more than just a time out. So in those cases, living with the emotion may be required learning. Daily activities that may provoke the feeling to worsen might need to adapted to give the child space to process. Children’s emotions are not less important than those of adults. In fact, children feel much more deeply and emotions felt in early childhood may leave scars that can last a lifetime. So if there is a big event in their life, giving them time to process may be necessary.

     Two important things when teaching your child to deal with emotions. First is to realize that each child is completely unique, therefore what will be comforting and productive for one may not work for another. SOme feel comfort in talking it out, but others may prefer writing or art. For most, this will be a trial an error scenario because as your kids grow their needs change proportionally to what they are presented with and what they learn. And second, suppression is not the same as dealing. If a child wants to cry and you make them calm down, that is not dealing with emotions that is suppressing. It's necessary to allow the child work fully through the emotion, whether they find the root or cause or not, allowing the feeling to naturally progress without allowing the mind to create a story. What we are trying to teach is not to make the feeling go away but to use them to understand themselves better, to not let emotions rule their actions, and to not allow their emotions to infringe upon others.

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