Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Becoming Your Child's Emotional Coach

There is one thing that we as parents are usually not good with, emotions. We tend to not want to show, display, or express them in public. But we still feel them.

Our children however, have no problem showing, displaying, or expressing their emotions. As parents, we need to be a part of helping our children learn to recognize, label, and control their emotions.

Julie Hanks, of the Wasatch Family Therapy Center, gives us The 5 Steps To Raising an Emotionally Healthy Child.

  1. Be aware of your child’s emotions. Your child has emotions, which are inside, and they express them externally in their behaviours. You need to recognize, even though your child may be young, that they do have emotions.
  2. Recognize the emotion as an opportunity for teaching. You can empathize and teach your child about the emotion they are feeling. You can acknowledge and accept the emotion, even if it is negative. We can also teach our children how to control and manage their emotions.
  3. Listen, empathize, and validate your child’s emotions. Listen with your eyes, ears, mind, and heart to understand what your child is trying to say from their perspective. With your words you can reflect back what you feel your child is trying to say, and help label the emotions.
  4. Help your child label their emotions in words they understand. Make sure you label what the child IS feeling not what the SHOULD or OUGHT to be feeling. You can describe their behaviour and attach it to an emotion. Something simple like “When you are crying, I can tell that you are sad”.
  5. Help your child come up with ways to manage their emotions. Help your child come up with healthy solutions to help manage and control their emotions. Also to find ways to appropriately express their emotions.

As we become our child’s emotional coach, it will help our child discover and manage their emotions. It will also help us, as parents, develop a closer relationship with our children.

How has helping your child with their emotions benefited your relationship? Did you parents coach you in your emotions?



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