Both Grant and Tracey have provided great tips and advice for raising children. In addition to behavioural strategies, I always speak with my client about teaching their children about emotions and feelings. As parents, we work so hard to foster our children's education and extra-curricular activities and skills, but we often skip over the very important responsibility of teaching our children how to manage their feelings (both good and bad).
From a young age, children are great at letting us know when they are feeling angry, tired or frustrated. It starts with crying as a young baby, becomes tantrums during the toddler years but as children grow, it is important to teach them how to express and manage difficult or overwhelming feelings in productive ways so as to ensure that poor coping strategies are not developed.
When children are young, it is important to speak to them about what they are feeling. If your child is getting angry - saying gently to them ‘I can see you are feeling angry’. This starts the conversation and role modeling to children about how to identify feelings. This can develop into conversations that promote empathy. For example ‘how do you think your brother was feeling when you broke his toy?’ It's about introducing a language of emotions into every day life and from there it allows for further conversation about how to manage tricky feelings and healthy coping strategies.
I work with a lot of parents and children around helping them to develop healthy coping strategies when dealing with overwhelming feelings, trauma, grief and anxiety.
All the best, Tammy
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