In order to help our children from an early age develop tools to manage their environment in a simpler and more flexible way when entering classes or being with people outside the family, it is important to educate emotions at home. While it is true that not all of us know how to control or manage our own emotions, it is necessary to try to teach the little ones. For this, you can consult a specialist who can teach you how to do it and even help you to prepare your child with a treatment or even a specialized therapy.
However, it is necessary to know a little more about it and even some tips from specialists so you can start showing your little one as soon as possible. Especially, when the return to school is coming after the coronavirus pandemic.
Importance of educating emotions at home
Emotions are our life companions, so it is necessary to know them well and realize how important they are. It is very common that we do not have control of them or that we do not know how to understand them. This means that when people around us ask us something as simple as “how are you?” we respond with “fine” without even being sure of what we are feeling. This can lead us to have difficulties in our personal relationships because we cannot, or do not know how to express well what we feel. If this happens to us as adults, imagine what it would be like for the little ones.
Being aware of emotions, giving them a place and naming them, helps to recognize how we feel, and to know a little about ourselves. In this way it is much easier to give meaning to our responses and ways of acting, managing to better direct and manage reactions.
It is important to help the child to be able to manage sadness, anger, frustration and even joy. By managing emotions, it will be much easier to lead a pleasant life, letting things happen without clinging.
Tips for educating emotions at home
- Recognize and make room for your own emotions: When you feel an emotion invade you give it room, do not try to repress or deny. Instead, ask yourself about its possible causes and possible consequences. Some questions that can help you are: what am I feeling right now, what triggered this feeling, what am I manifesting and what can cause me to act, can I change something that made me feel this way, what can I do to transform my feelings?
- Help him to verbalize his emotion: When the child is invaded by an emotion, ask him the same questions you asked yourself, if at some point it is difficult for him to talk about it, support him with the words that perhaps resonated with you when you felt the same way, this with the intention that his emotional vocabulary expands and so later he can perform his own emotional management.
- Listen to him: When you realize that something is not going well with him, that he is more distracted, more irritable, apathetic, etc., dare to ask him what is wrong, maybe he will not know how to explain it clearly, but he will know that you are willing to listen to him; give him room for what he is telling you and encourage him to talk about what is happening to him. You will be surprised at what he has to say!
- Encourage them to ask questions: In conjunction with the previous point, encourage him to ask when he doesn’t understand something that is happening to him, when he has doubts about his feelings and his way of acting. Encourage communication so that he/she can feel confident with you.
- Encourage him in his independence: Trust in his autonomy and in his way of solving situations that come up, such as stressful situations in front of strangers, later you can ask him about what he did to solve it and help him see other possible solutions.
- Respect his feelings: Remember that he is a child and that, like everyone else, he has needs and deserves respect; do not belittle his feelings, nor embarrass or humiliate him for what is happening to him. Avoid at all costs blackmail, scolding, threats, punishments or yelling.
Always remember that there are many and better solutions, if you are unable to find one approach a specialist so that he/she can support you in this process that you want to take with your child, remember that you do not have to do it alone.
Ms. Ana Paula Varela is a clinical psychologist graduated from the Catholic University of Ecuador. She has extensive experience in anxiety and depression therapy associated with bereavement, relationship termination, sex education and emotional counseling for adolescents with a focus on human rights. She continues to update herself with new protocols for the best care of her patients.