One of the most difficult things for a child to learn to control and fully understand is their emotions. How we as parents teach our children how to express their emotions can have a major effect on them well into adulthood. This is why it is so essential for parents to know how to handle their child’s emotions, teach them healthy ways to express them and guide them in understanding why they feel certain ways. And, before that, for parents to have insight into how they personally handle emotions, and to make changes if needed because our children soak up our behaviours and words like a sponge.
Listen to Them and Respond
Many years of parenting has created the myth that giving your child attention and always responding when they call for you will make them spoiled. This is simply untrue and there is no such thing. In fact, a child will quickly learn that their parents are listening to them which will help them better develop their emotions later on. They won’t feel as though they are not being ignored if a parent picks up on their cues of needing attention and responding accordingly. Children need attention from their parents, the balancing act is to teach them by word and action that they should seek your attention politely.
Praise Your Child
Be sure to notice when your child is expressing their feelings in a positive and appropriate way. When you see it, don’t just ignore it. Give them praise to reinforce this type of behaviour and expression. Be proactive in giving them praise. This way, they are more likely to repeat the action throughout the rest of their childhood and into adulthood. Praise is also a great way to encourage them to talk about their feelings.
Express Your Feelings
Like it or not, you and your home are your child’s first classroom. As so, they will learn from what you do and follow what they see. This is why it is imperative to lead by example and don’t be afraid to express your feelings in front of your children. When expressing your feelings to or in front of your child, use words they will understand. It’s even more helpful to tell them what you mean when you introduce a ‘feeling’ word. Expressing your own feelings and emotions can be a life-changing learning opportunity for them.
When teaching your child to express their feelings, following this kind of advice can easily lead you to go overboard. It’s essential to find a balance to have well-adjusted children. Over encouraging children to express their feelings can lead to them not thinking of others. To keep the balance, address their issue constructively by giving them the time they need to explain their point of view or even cry for a reasonable amount of time. When they’ve had time to express themselves, bring the subject to a close so it won’t escalate or linger.