If your child is resistant to communicating when upset, he may try to deny, hide, or avoid talking about his feelings.
It may be because he doesn’t feel safe expressing himself, or he could be afraid that talking about it will make him even more angry or scared than he already is. It is important for children to learn that as hard as it can be to talk about negative emotions, we need to release those feelings or they can resurface as negative behaviors and cause even worse problems. When I teach this to children, they usually give it a shot and see for themselves that they can feel much better afterwards!
5 Ways To Support Talking About Feelings:
- Listen: Focus on your child, show empathy, and remove distractions.
- Validate: Accept their feelings, even if they seem irrational.
- Normalize: Help them understand that all emotions are normal and healthy.
- Problem Solve: Encourage your child to come up with ways to cope.
- Reinforce: Always praise your child for opening up.
Don’t be worried if your child still doesn’t love talking about his feelings, as this is only one way of expressing them. Some children respond better to drawing pictures, role playing with toys, or playing games to communicate their feelings. I am constantly amazed by how creative children can be when it comes to finding their favorite ways. Whatever method they prefer, encourage them to use it so they can get rid of pent-up feelings and get back to having fun!
Your child’s emotional well-being is important not only so they feel their best, but also because it supports their social and intellectual development. The positive effects are contagious to all aspects of your child’s life!