Many people, both adults and children, have difficulties dealing with emotions. Parents sometimes struggle with helping their children appropriately express their feelings. Taking the time and energy to teach children how to manage their feelings is extremely important and beneficial for children. There are several advantages that children can gain from being able to control their emotions. Some possible advantages are: paying better attention, being more likely to appropriately interact with others, and being less likely to act on impulse. Below are 8 tips that can help you teach your child how to gain control of their emotions.
Tips To Help Your Child Control Their Emotions
- Talk about emotions/feelings. Make sure your child understands all the different kinds of emotions he can feel. Talk about what kind of behaviors and facial expressions might come from different emotions. In addition, when he is expressing different emotions, talk about why he is feeling this way and exhibiting certain behaviors.
- Be able to recognize how others feel. Your child also needs to know how to read the feelings/emotions of others. By being able to read the facial expressions and body language of others, your child can recognize how others are feeling and get a better understanding on how to interact with those individuals. This in turn can help him build more meaningful and beneficial relationships.
- Identify coping strategies. Help your child identify different coping strategies that he can utilize when he needs to gain control. Your child should know that it is possible for people to lose control; however, there should be different coping strategies in place to help them regain control. It is important to make sure that you identify appropriate coping strategies for your child because each child is different and will need different techniques to help them calm down. Some coping strategy suggestions that might be useful to your child are: listening to music, coloring/drawing, going to a quiet area, squeezing a stress ball or stuffed animal, blowing bubbles, drinking a glass of cold water, etc..
- Write stories. Once you have distinguished different triggers that can result in your child losing control as well as the proper coping strategies he/she can use to help regain control, sitdown and write a story together. In the story, you want to write out the things that upset your child and the different actions and coping strategies he/she uses to help him/her calm down. Read and discuss these stories on a daily basis, as well as, before a certain situation or activity might take place that usually upsets your child.
- Catch him in control. When your child maintains control, provide verbal praise. You want to make sure that your child receives the praise and credit he/she deserves for appropriately handling an upsetting situation.
- Coach him if out of control. If your child does not use his/her coping strategies to help them calm down and regain control, be sure to coach him and provide feedback. Do not start coaching or providing feedback until your child is calm. It will not help anyone if you try to immediately coach and give feedback when your child is upset and not in control. Once calm, your child will be able to think more clearly and will be able to rationalize what could have been a more appropriate way to handle the situation.
- Practice makes perfect. Use role-play to help your child work through different upsetting situations. By practicing and talking about different upsetting situations that could possibly happen, it can help your child be prepared to deal with future upset. Try to let your child independently provide as much information about what he/she would do in the different situations, before you offer help and guidance.
- Lead by example. Children learn a lot from others and are very quick to pickup and mimic behaviors, either good or bad, that they have seen exhibited by others. Be a good role model and practice what you preach. We are human and get upset, but you need to try to be aware of your coping strategies and utilize them to maintain control.