EMBRACE CHILDREN'S EMOTIONS, NOT FIGHT THEM
Emotions play a big part in everyone's lives. Emotions are what make us human, as it tells us what we are feeling and how we react to different situations. These emotional experiences are built upon throughout the years of growing up and served as a lesson to us today. Therefore, childhood emotional experience is an important and crucial factor to a happier and resilient adult.
If you have read understanding emotions, you know that emotional awareness should start from young.
How parents react to children's emotions today will have a huge impact on how these kids behave in the future.
Emotions are very fragile, it needs to be nurtured and handled with utmost care and love. Especially in children, where their emotional brains are still developing, they require a lot of guidance from parents to teach them how to make sense of their feelings, and not asking them to mask those emotions.
"Crying is weak!"
"All you do is cry, cry, cry"
"You have no right to be angry!"
"Go to your room!"
Most Asian parents have unconsciously been using the above phrases so often that they don't realize how harmful it is to say that to children who are still trying to learn and understand themselves. When parents do that, children will learn that showing negative emotions is problematic and unacceptable. Instead of understanding and embracing children's emotions, parents are shutting off a communication channel for children to express their thoughts and feelings. All these suppressed feelings in children will result in the usage of drugs and alcohol, joining gang members, and commit crimes in the future. Because that is the only way for them to express those feelings.
But it doesn't have to turn out that way. Negative emotions like anger, sadness, or frustration are not signs of weakness. Instead of fighting children's emotions and feelings, why not embrace them? Parents, you can create a safe and trusting home for children to express themselves freely to you. Below are some tips to help you.
1. Let children know that it is perfectly normal for them to have emotions. Label those emotions for them, be it anger or sadness, help them be aware of the feelings they are experiencing.
"Honey, I can see that you are sad, and it is okay to feel sad. Everyone will feel sad once in a while and it is normal to have these feelings."
2. Let children know that you are their safety net where they can express their feelings and thoughts to you without getting judged or yelled at.
"Buddy, you can cry it out, it is okay to cry when you are sad. Once you have calmed down, I want you to know that I'll be here to listen when you are ready to talk about it"
3. It takes a lot of courage and trust for someone to confide their feelings to another person and the same applies when a child confides in their parents. Thank them for willing to express their emotions to you, and for willing to talk about their feelings with you.
"Thank you for trusting me, honey. I know it is not easy to talk about feelings, but I'm so glad you are willing to share it with me."
Once you have built the bridge of trust between you and your child, your child is depending on you to guide him on how to regulate his feelings. And that brings us to the next chapter, coping with emotions. Remember, when children are having an emotional meltdown or an angry episode, shutting them off will not stop and resolve their feelings. It is through trust, kindness, and love, that your children will learn how to manage and regulate emotions better.