It’s never easy to see your child get angry. Often, it can make you feel upset or frustrated, too. As adults, we sometimes believe the way children express their anger, sadness, or even happiness is unwarranted.
However, it’s essential to understand that children act out in different ways because they can’t always fully process or manage their big feelings — even the good ones!
If you feel frustrated when your child acts out in a way you don’t understand or find appropriate, ask yourself if they genuinely know how to manage what they’re feeling.
The good news? You can help them. By encouraging your child to manage their big feelings the right way, they’ll be less frustrated, and more eager to express themselves in healthy ways. Here are some tips.
1. Stay Calm
Perhaps the most important thing is to keep yourself calm whenever your child is trying to express themselves. Even if it frustrates you, showing that frustration will motivate a more significant reaction out of them. They’ll know that expressing themselves that way will get your attention.
It’s your job to help your child through the emotions they can’t understand and not to stir up those emotions even more. So, take a deep breath and focus on staying calm.
2. Create a Safe Environment
Let your child know they’re safe when you’re around. They can express themselves because you’re there, and nothing will get to them. Creating that emotional and even physical connection can help your child to take deep breaths and calm down. In a relaxed mode, children can try to express what they’re feeling in a secure environment.
3. Empathize with Your Child
A little empathy can go a long way. When your child feels like you understand how upset they are, they’re more likely to open up and talk more about their feelings. For example, maybe you’re struggling with working from home like they’re struggling with remote schooling – you can show true empathy here.
Welcome your child’s emotions and tell them you understand. Tell them you hear them and repeat what they said so they know you’re listening.
From there, you can acknowledge your child’s perspective by repeating the things they say they want. Helping them to feel seen and heard can make a big difference.
4. Dig a Little Deeper
Once you understand why your child feels a specific way, you can go a little deeper. You don’t have to have a significant strategy for this. It can be as simple as asking your child to tell you more about how they’re feeling and why.
Once they’ve calmed down and feel validated for their emotions, they’re more likely to talk to you about why they think a particular way.
As you do get deeper into the conversation, you can continue to validate your child’s feelings. Plus, you can offer suggestions and solutions as to how they can manage those feelings in the future.
5. Don’t Solve the Problem for Them
When it seems your child is ready to move on and accept their emotions, help them to problem-solve. That doesn’t mean you should solve their problems for them, but you can be a guide.
If they’re not sure what to do next or how to manage their emotions, give them suggestions or ask them what they think about trying something? If they give you an idea about what they’re going to do to solve their problem, continue the conversation. Ask them what might happen if they perform that action, etc.
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Does it take time to help young children manage big feelings? Absolutely. But, by keeping your patience and taking the time to help your child work through these things, they’ll be better equipped to handle their emotions more effectively as they get older.
If you’d like more parenting support and decide you’re in need of a high quality counseling practice in the Columbus, OH area for online therapy to help deal with your parenting struggles, please reach out and contact Blue Boat Counseling today. Our skilled Columbus therapists are trained to provide counseling for teenagers and parents. We can help you and your child work on managing those big feelings your family is struggling with.