As parents, we tend to feel uncomfortable with our childrens’ emotions when they’re not happy. We just want them to stop, stop crying, stop complaining, stop feeling unhappy. It’s a natural tendency but handling it by saying “Just stop.” or “Shake it off.” doesn’t actually help our children feel better, let alone stop. (Certainly there are times when a firm command is necessary, use your mama instinct, you know when that is).
Here are some examples:
Child gets a boo-boo, we can say: “Man! That hurts! That really hurts.”
Child gets hurt by sibling: “That hurts, you don’t want your brother to hit you, you want him to use words.”
Child accidentally breaks toy/rips paper coloring on: “You really love that toy, you don’t want it broken. That’s a special toy to you.” or “You worked so hard on that picture, you don’t like it getting ripped.”
In all of these situations your child will most likely still cry but the important thing is that you’ve:
1) acknowledged that he’s feeling something (pain. sadness, hurt, etc.)
2) helped him process it by naming the feeling
Eventually though, as your child hears these types of responses from you, he will begin to process his emotions better. Certainly, we need to give direction and correction in these situations but a child will not learn or listen if she’s unable to process her emotions. So start here and then offer the direction/correction, once you’ve helped your child articulate her feelings.
You’ve go this, mamas!
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