Jun 252012

Emotions often annoy me. They well up and sweep over me and take control when I don’t want them to. Sometimes I feel happy when I still want to be angry. Sometimes I feel scared when I so badly want to feel confident. And though I am 27-years old, emotions sometimes get the best of me.

So why do I sometimes expect emotions not to get the best of my two-year old? Kids are not little adults. They have no idea what to do with the frightening sensations that threaten to overwhelm their little beings.

We must not teach our kids that emotions are bad. Or that happiness is the only acceptable emotion in our homes. We must not expect them to gain mastery of their emotions without a safe place to practice (with us!).

Instead, we have to teach them. We have to name their emotions for them. We have to patiently explain what is happening to them when they feel rage over real or perceived injustices. We have to show them how to deal with sadness and loss.

We have to live our lives before our kids as good examples of self-control.

How (and what) do you teach your kids about emotions? 


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 Posted by at 12:01 am

  6 Responses to “On Kids and Emotions”

  1. Ah…my daughter has recently been terrified by any loud noise machines. It has sometimes been so frustrating. The riding lawnmower may be 200 feet away, but when she hears/sees it she hangs on to me for dear life. It is to the point that I was beginning to think something was wrong. For the moment I just hug her tight and assure her that the lawnmower is doing his job and is not out to get her…it’s not working yet but maybe soon?

    • My daughter has done this off and on with the vacuum cleaner. Having her touch it and see it when it wasn’t on helped her a lot. I don’t know if it’s possible or not, but if there’s an opportunity maybe you could let her touch it/look at a lawnmower when it’s off.

  2. So true. I’m a firm believer of allowing my kids to express their real emotions. Appropriately, with anger, for sure. We weren’t encouraged to do this when I grew up and it was frustrating for me.

    {and I just realized I’m eleven years older than your young 27 – I won’t tell if you don’t} See? I felt free to express that! ;)

    • I’m glad you felt free to express that. :) You may be a little older but you’re also much further down the parenting path than myself so I’m sure there’s a lot I can learn from you.

  3. I try to name my toddler’s emotions, from being happy to feeling scared. I want him to be able to label his emotions so that he can begin categorizing his feelings and also put himself in other people’s shoes down the line. Also, if he knows there’s a name to a feeling, he knows it’s not some crazy monster taken over him and that it’s actually quite normal.

    • I like the connection you made between labeling emotions and your son being able to put himself in other people’s shoes as he gets older. I hadn’t thought about that.

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