Helping Your Kids Manage Emotions part 2

Photo by Raphaël Biscaldi on Unsplash

Hey there! Last week I talked about recognizing and naming our emotions. I kind of alluded to today’s topic-allowing emotions. But I want to give it some more attention because it’s VITAL. One of my clients texted me this week mid crisis. She was having a full blown freak out and feeling sick to her stomach. I walked her through noticing the emotion and describing it. It was Nervous and it was hot and heavy and sinking as it got heavier.

What happens when you don’t allow emotions to exist in you. In other words, you’re resisting them, fighting against them, trying to shove them down or make them go away? They escalate. Just like holding a beach ball under water and pushing it deeper and deeper. The deeper you try to push it, the more you try to hold it under the water, the higher it’s going to sky rocket when you finally let go.

But what happens when we just let the ball float on the surface? It’s just there, existing, floating, maybe bobbing with the water a little. No rocketing, no fireworks, no splash, just floating.

Ok, back to my client. As we talked and noticed her Nervous showing up and how it was feeling in her body, she started crying. Now, what are we conditioned to do when tears come? “Oh, it’s ok sweetie! Don’t cry! Everything’s going to be FINE!” We shove it away.

STOP! Don’t restrict your tears! Crying is healing. It’s one of natures healthy ways of self soothing, processing emotions and restoring chemical balance. Now, you won’t always be feeling an emotion strongly enough to elicit tears. But whatever the emotion is and however strong it is, the reality is that the fastest way to get rid of it is to thoroughly let it be there.

Just like the beach ball bobbing on top of the pool, you can have frustration (or anger or anxious or dull or any other emotion) just bobbing on the surface while you go about your day. Life is 50/50. It’s supposed to be sad/uncomfortable/unpleasant about half of the time. Fighting that just increases the amount of negative emotion you feel.

So when your kid is having a sucky day, let them have their sucky day! Empathize with them. Share a time you felt something similar. Tell them they can cry as long as they need to. Teach them that all emotions are a normal part of life and they can feel insecure/disappointed/embarrassed/whatever as long as they need to. And when they’re ready to be done, you’re there to help them feel better. But no rush. Because all emotions are part of the human experience. This life is amazing! All of it. The 50 and the other 50.

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