Helping Your Children Control Their Emotions
As a parent you want your kids to grow up to be well adjusted and happy adults. Bringing up children can be a very rewarding and challenging experience. When it comes to bringing up kids we are not really taught how to do it or if there is a right or wrong way. We just get on with it and hope that we can do our best for our kids.
One of the most important aspects when children are growing up is the learning process of controlling their emotions. This also includes the important aspects of handling their frustrations and delaying gratification. It is important for parents to meet the needs of their baby in the early stages of life. However, it is important that as the child gets older they learn how to control their emotions and not to make excessive demands on their parents. These skills are essential for later on life and they need to be taught at an early age. It is important that children have the ability to express their emotions but not to the level that it becomes problematic such as constant public outbursts when parents do not give into their demands.
- Do not minimize feelings
- Allow children to vent
- Burn off excess energy
- Have rules about bad words
- Use the One Minute Manager technique
- Rest and healthy diet
When a child says how he feels, do not deny it or minimize it. That is easy to do when your child says, “I wish he was dead!”, “I hate you!”, or “I thought he was going to kill me!”. Instead, acknowledge how he feels. Then ask what happened to make him feel that way. After listening to his description, help him put it in context. Then ask how the problem can be resolved.
When your child is in a bad mood or tantrum, let her vent emotionally. However, you can and should prevent property damage or physical harm. If your child makes a mess throwing a tantrum, it should also be her job to clean it up.
Plan activities to burn off energy after school and before homework. This will make it easier to calm down and sit down to focus. Calm children are also less likely to engage in horseplay or fight with each other when they need to sit down and concentrate.
Rather than screaming “You can’t say that!” during an argument, plan times to talk about what words are forbidden. Then talk to your children about why those words are forbidden. If children have already embedded in their minds which words are and are
not allowed, such as “stupid”, “crazy”, or swear words, they are less likely to say these things in a moment of passion and stoke the flames of the fire higher.
Use the One Minute Manager technique of disapproval with your children. State what you like about their reaction, such as that they are reporting a sibling breaking the rules. Then say what is not allowed, such as yelling or hitting. Then follow up with a reminder that they are loved, cared for, or another positive statement. After a pause, discuss what can be done to repair the situation or punish as appropriate. Keeping the corrective lecture to one minute keeps it within their attention span. Don’t lecture endlessly what
was wrong; even if the child doesn’t tune you out, too long of a verbal barrage may overwhelm the message.
Make sure your child has plenty of rest and that she is eating a balanced and healthy diet. This may seem like an odd step, but it actually helps children remain emotionally healthy, as well as physically healthy. These are just some quick tips to help your children learn how to better manage their emotions. Using the above tips with your children should increase their emotional intelligence. At the very least, you will increase communication and make it easier to deal with issues as they arise.
You can encourage the development of impulse control in the following ways:
- Suggest words that your child can use to say how she feels. If your child gets mad while playing a game, encourage her to use words to show her anger, such as “That really makes me mad!” or “I don’t like it when you play the game that way!”
- Make it clear that hurting others is not allowed. When your child gets mad playing a game and pushes or hits another child, take him aside and remind him that hurting others is not allowed.
- Help your child think of new ways to solve problems. When your child has a disagreement with another child, suggest solutions such as taking turns or sharing.
- Respond to your child’s misbehavior with words. When you tell your child the reasons behind rules and explain the consequences for misbehavior, you help her develop inner controls on her behavior.
Model self-control when dealing with stress or frustration. Your child learns many behaviors from observing you. When you model self-discipline and self-control in difficult situations, your child will learn to follow your example.
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