COPING WITH EMOTIONS
Everyone has emotions, but everyone expresses emotions differently. Some use violence to cope with anger, while others use calming strategies to manage anger. Emotional coping strategies are learned behaviours, not something we are born with. Same goes for children.
Parents as role models (see parents and emotions) can guide children to cope with emotions effectively. For children, experiencing negative emotions can be overwhelming, here are some strategies for parents to help children cope with emotions better.
1. Promote self-awareness in children. Help them identify and understand emotions (see embrace emotions)
2. Model positive parenting for children. Show them how you manage and regulate your emotions. Children learn best through modelling.
3. Talk to children about emotions. Validate their feelings, gain their trust and let them know you will be there for them no matter what happened (see listen openly).
4. Show them the difference and consequences of reactive behaviours and proactive behaviours (see understanding emotions). Teach them how to be proactive towards their emotions. Redirect negative emotions to appropriate activities like exercising, talking to someone they trust, dancing or singing, and just to name a few.
5. Create a safe zone or corner at home for children to freely express their emotions. For example, creating a space in the house with relaxing and calming items like bean bags, trampoline, sensory play, musical instruments, etc. Let them take ownership of regulating their emotions appropriately.
Guiding children to regulate emotions takes time and practice. Have faith in yourself and your children. Take on this emotional journey together and bring out the best in your child.