It is easy to forget sometimes that emotions cannot be controlled. This is as true for children as it is for adults. The reaction and behaviors expressed can be controlled, but the emotions themselves can only be suppressed or expressed.
By helping children to manage, navigate, and understand emotions, children will be able develop coping mechanisms that work for them. This can contribute to better emotional health throughout your child’s life. By remaining supportive and compassionate while a child deals with their emotions – but being firm in not allowing bad behavior – it can help children to better understand acceptable ways to handle negative emotions.
Dreaded Temper Tantrum
Temper tantrums may be a child’s way of saying that they are hungry, tired, uncomfortable, or just upset. When children have temper tantrums, they are often having difficulty expressing what is wrong, so they lash out. It is important to redirect a child’s anger, but not yell at the child for being angry. If they try to hit you or break something, redirect them towards something that it is okay to hit, such as a bed or punching bag.
Helping Children with Expression
Labeling emotions can help children to understand that they are normal things that other people experience, as well. By saying to a child “I understand that you are frustrated,” or “it seems like you are angry (sad, hurt, etc) right now,” it gives them a word to identify the emotion that they are experiencing. This can be a relief in itself and may help children to better understand their own feelings.
Supporting Children through Emotions
It can be very difficult to remain calm when a child raises their voice or begins to express agitation in a physical way. It is important to allow the child to go through their emotions, however, refraining from sending them to their room or punishing them. Redirection can be helpful, but it is also helpful to remind the child that you are there for them. A hug after the worst of the emotions have passed or during a sad time can also help to reassure children that you are not mad at them for having emotions.