4 Ways to Help Kids Deal with Their Emotions
With Stephanie Legendre, LPC
Watch Time: 2:29 minutes
Stephanie, a mom and professional counselor, shares how important it is to help kids manage their emotions. We all feel sad or angry sometimes but understanding how to handle those emotions is the key.
Licensed Professional Counselor Shares Ways to Help Kids Manage Emotions
Helping Kids Manage Emotions
Having emotions is a normal part of life, right? But we have this perception, especially with kids, that kids need to, like, be tough and we need toughen up emotions. But what happens is, we are actually teaching the fear of emotion, because if emotions aren’t scary, if they’re just sensations in our body that tell our body what we need, right? Then why do we need to be tough in the presence of this emotion?
Keep It Real
My biggest thing is, keep it real. We try too hard sometimes, let’s just keep it real. Like, if you’re mad, just say you’re mad. Then children will start to get the message, like okay, when I’m angry this is what I should do, or when I’m sad, this is what I should do. So, if I can give you four ways to regulate your child’s emotions, I would start with number one, their body.
How Does Your Body Feel?
How does the emotion feel in the body? It’s a sensation, just like when you burn yourself. It’s going to hurt, and then the pain’s going to go away. It’s the same thing, right? So, first start with body awareness. The second piece would be starting with the emotion itself.
Accept the Emotion
Anger is just here to tell us things aren’t fair. Sadness is here to say I lost something important to me, and fear is here to keep us safe.
Choose Your Words Carefully
So, the third part is really watching how you speak to your child because your words become their thoughts of themselves. So, the fourth piece would be really understanding your child for who they are.
Understand Your Child
So, parenting the child you have versus the child you want. Different personalities need different things. Like for me personally, I’d rather suffer by myself, right? I don’t want someone coming, you know, at me, and asking these questions, it’s going to overwhelm me more. So, know yourself and know your kid, and that will create a situation where now you really can come together in a space of calm.
Parents Don’t Have to Be Perfect
So, if I did a behavior that I wouldn’t want her to do to me—let’s say I yelled at her—then I’m going to go and make a repair. And that doesn’t make you a soft parent, that makes you a brave parent. And that’s where you model what they need in a relationship. So, it’s great when you make mistakes—now you have an opportunity to model accountability.
It’s Okay to Ask for Help
If you feel overwhelmed, you need someone to just come to you, validate your emotions, without judgment. Find someone that can connect to you, not judge you, if you need to seek professional help, go and do that as well. But find someone that fits you, and that you feel comfortable with. You can do this.