Kids can have raw emotions and will find it hard to express themselves effectively. They can feel pain, frustration, anger, and other negative emotions. They might even find it hard to read other people’s feelings. Since they still have so many things to learn, it is the parent’s responsibility to guide and help them deal with such feelings healthily. Thankfully, there are many things parents can do to guide kids in handling difficult emotions without causing harm to themselves and others.
Why Kids Need More of Their Parent’s Emotional Support
Kids may be small, but they can have such big feelings. They, too, can have different stress triggers, bump into numerous frustrations, and face many negativities. It is very easy for them to feel difficult emotions without knowing how to deal with each one the right way.
As a result, kids can be cranky, depressed, or even manifest regression behaviours. Some will go for a full-blown tantrum until they can get their message to their loved ones. They are still inexperienced in how emotions work and need more time to learn how to read and cope with tricky emotions.
Kids will also have different coping abilities. Some will have a tougher time recognising what they feel, how others feel, and how to handle specific emotions. The good news is that kids will learn how to better handle their moods and emotions with their loved ones’ help.
Helping Kids Cope with Negative Emotions the Healthy Way
Parents and guardians must keep a close watch on their kids’ emotions. This is the first step in helping them recognise how they feel before even stepping into their rescue. Kids need to learn; it is only natural to feel different emotions.
Here are some ways to help them start dealing with emotions more healthily.
Express Empathy and Validate Their Feelings
Kids should learn that what they are feeling is true and valid. No one should dictate how a child should feel since we all have different priorities and preferences. By acknowledging and empathising with kids’ emotions, we can achieve the following.
- Make kids realise that we care about their feelings and emotions.
- Show them that emotions are real.
- Show kids that there are healthy ways to deal with different emotions.
- Make them realise that someone understands them and is willing to help them.
Encourage Kids to Engage in Therapeutic Activities
Kids have different coping mechanisms. When they are not ready to talk about their feelings and would rather do something else, parents can step in and encourage activities that can help them express how they feel. This can be in numerous forms of productive activities.
Colouring, for instance, is proven to be a therapeutic activity for any age. Giving your stressed-out toddler a colouring book can help them calm down, focus on the task at hand, and reduce their stress and anxiety. Since colouring requires focus and coordination, this can be a good way to pacify their need to relax and give them enough time to cool down before talking to them.
A walk in nature is another great way to calm an anxious, frustrated, or angry child. Being in nature alone offers numerous health benefits. Taking a walk with your little one can help them appreciate nature more while you help them reflect on what they really feel and how to handle their emotions.
Ask kids who can already write to vent their feelings on a piece of paper. This can be a good way to help them realise how their emotions at a certain time can be totally different from how they feel after letting their emotions out. This can make them realise that sometimes, taking a break and making reflections before you say or do something can lead to better results.
Avoid Dismissing or Ignoring Your Kids’ Emotions
Many parents are guilty of being insensitive towards their kids’ emotions. They think that since kids are still young and inexperienced, it won’t hurt to look beyond their kids’ feelings. This makes children feel like their feelings are not valid.
Some parents can’t bear the thought or sight of seeing their kids getting hurt, jealous, anxious, or depressed. But then, they also fail to teach kids how to get past the storm. They respond in ways that make kids feel a lot more confused.
Parents should also learn how to use positive reinforcement to their kids who managed to stay calm and progress. Use short and concise words that acknowledge their bravery for facing negative emotions the healthy way. If all else fails, it may be time to ask for a pro’s help.
Children are not safe from feeling extreme emotions. This is why parents should keep a watchful eye and a helping hand to help kids learn how to cope healthily. Empathise with them, validate their feelings, and never ignore how they feel. Encourage productive and engaging activities they find relaxing and interesting, and they will slowly learn how to deal with their negative emotions in their own, healthy ways.