Helping Your Child Manage Big Feelings

by | Jun 3, 2020 | Children, Relationships | 0 comments

Many kids who are heading back to school will experience a range of emotional reactions. Many of the kids I see describe the excitement of being able to see their friends again, and are happy to restart some of the fun activities they’ve missed like music lessons or sport. However, for some of these kids the transition back to school is pretty scary, and as a result there’s been a rise in feelings of anxiety, sadness or anger. Some might even be experiencing emotional meltdowns. As a parent this can be worrying, and you may wonder what you can do to help your child when they are experiencing such big emotions.

In a moment when a child is feeling very upset, they often don’t want us to fix whatever it is they are upset about, however, they do want us to empathise. We all know how good it feels to have our emotions acknowledged. It makes us feel like we are accepted and understood. When you empathise with your child’s emotions, you don’t need to agree or endorse the feeling, and you don’t need to cheer them up. However, it is helpful to accept that your child is entitled to their feelings.

By acknowledging and reflecting your child’s emotions, e.g. “You are so mad your brother broke your toy”, your acceptance of your child’s feelings helps them to recognise and accept their own emotions. That is what soothes the feeling, and allows it to start fading away. Your empathy helps your child learn that they are not alone when coping with big, scary emotions, and this gives them confidence that they can manage them. Empathy is a key tool to help your child build emotional self-awareness, grow the ability to manage anxieties and upsets, and even control their impulses.

The Centre for Effective Living is a warm and welcoming place for kids and families. Contact us for further support in dealing with big feelings.