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.
Lauren Chee (M Clin Psych, BSc (Hons – First Class)) is a psychologist who understands the importance of forming a genuine and caring therapeutic relationship with each individual she sees. Lauren is registered with Medicare and is also an approved practitioner in the NSW Workers Compensation System.
Lauren has experience working with both children and adults within schools, private clinics, and inpatient and outpatient hospital settings. Her warm and supportive approach helps her clients feel comfortable exploring their concerns in order to develop practical strategies to reach their goals. Some of the issues she has helped her clients with include depression, anxiety, perfectionism, adjustment to significant life change, self-esteem, grief, learning difficulties, and school and work-related stress.
In her work, Lauren recognises the individuality of each person and their story, and provides uniquely tailored treatments to support her clients. By being committed to the latest psychological research, she is able to equip her clients with evidence-based skills and knowledge that can lead to positive and lasting change. Lauren is a dedicated and approachable psychologist with a passion for helping her clients live a life in line with their personal values.
Lauren has a special interest in:
Anxiety Disorders e.g. Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia, Health Anxiety
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Social Skills and Assertiveness
Parenting and Attachment
Child Mental Health and Wellbeing
Learning Difficulties e.g. ADHD, specific learning disorders
Outside of work, Lauren enjoys spending time in nature, discovering new music, and sharing delicious meals with her friends and family.