It’s so important that we communicate to our children.
We need to teach them, by role modeling for them, as best we can, how to honor their feelings, both high and low.
Too often we want to rescue our children from their unhappy feelings- with good reason, we don’t want them to struggle as we did after all.
Yet, it’s in the highs and lows and in the darkness that we come to know ourselves better.
When your child has a difficult moment, one of the ways we can best help them through is to ask what they are feeling.
Meaning, the basic feelings of life- frustrated, angry, upset, sad, jealous- and the big one for kids nowadays with all they are faced with in a day; overwhelmed.
These simple, powerful adjectives help kids to get to the root of their symptoms, of their maladaptive behaviors (think yelling, screaming, hitting, breaking things perhaps, or saying things they don’t mean) and understand what is driving their behavior, yes, even at a very young age.
Kids like to talk about things. Even more, kids like when we, as parents, talk about things- their feelings, your feelings, and showing them it’s okay to feel angry and unhappy and jealous and frustrated, because this is all a part of life and understanding ourselves better and that by naming the adjectives, by stating what we are really feeling underneath the turmoil, we get to the heart of the matter, where it is far easier to see clearly and to solve problems.
Talk to your children. Talk about, in simple terms, the way you feel, so that they see what that is like for you and how to move through that space with discomfort yes, but also with grace.
Talk about your positive feelings with your family too, so that kids have something to compare the other feelings too and what it looks like to be happy, excited, moved, appreciated, loved. These feelings are just as important. Too often we put more emphasis on the yucky feelings, highlighting those for kids to give weight to, versus spotlighting the positive feelings so that kids learn how to be happy, too.
This may sound funny, maybe even unnecessary. It’s not.
Many of us have a hard time standing in the moment of happiness, on the other end of the spectrum, and owning that feeling, too, in all of it’s intensity.
Role model for your children how to stop and watch the rain fall, stare a dragonfly, pet an animal or walk in nature and ask them during the process how they feel.
Teach them how to stand in happy, and to name those feeling words, like peaceful, calm, steady, and relaxed.
This is just as important. When they know what it looks like, and what it feels like, to be happy or sad, angry or calm, chaotic or peaceful, they will in the process, learn how to get back to where they want to be.
Jill is ta therapist and the award-winning author of Land of Blue. Everything she does involves working with energy, both in herself as it helps her feel whole, and with others in order to gain understanding, develop compassion and ultimately to form more meaningful relationships. Her goals when meeting with clients are to share what she knows to be true, in order to guide clients toward a more authentic, healthy, and purposeful life. For more information about Jill check out her exclusive MCA interview or visit her website.