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Helping Your Child Manage Emotions

Emotions are normal. They are usually involuntary and a response to something around us. The problem is: parents are often surprised at emotional behaviors shown by their child. These may range from throwing an angry tantrum to sad bouts of crying. With effective parenting tips and resources like behavior videos, teaching our kids how to identify and manage their emotions is easier than it may seem.

Channeling Emotions into Appropriate Behaviors

We want our children to have emotions and to be able to show when they are happy or excited. But we often tend to prefer kids aren't so expressive with certain emotions, like anger. This is just because our children have not yet learned appropriate and effective ways to address those emotions they are feeling. Learning healthy behaviors to express our emotions is a big part of growing up. Keep these parenting tips in mind when it comes to helping your child manage their emotions:

  • First help children to identify their emotions. Have a discussion about different emotions, what they look like, how they make you feel, etc. Perhaps you can even try role playing or getting some puppets so that kids can practice learning appropriate ways to work through emotions.
  • Read books, or watch shows and videos together that focus on emotions. Behavior videos can be a valuable tool for both parents and children. This way, your child can see how the emotion is displayed and addressed by others.
  • Identify various ways that your child can work through their emotions. Whether journaling, writing poetry, or listening to soothing music, there are a variety of healthy activities people do to work through their feelings.
  • Praise your child's efforts when they try to express their emotions in an appropriate way or when they can identify the emotions they are feeling. You can reference back to books or parenting videos, for re-affirmation.
  • Set up a behavior chart that rewards kids for appropriately managing their emotions.
  • Set a good example for children by keeping your own emotions in check and expressing them with appropriate behaviors.
  • Make sure kids know that no emotion is off limits. Parents understandably don't want their child to be angry, for example, but anger is a normal emotion that everyone has. Children often feel better about their negative feelings when seeing them acted out (in healthy ways) by other children in parenting videos. Remember: It's really just a matter of what your child does with the anger that matters.

Emotion and Behavior Management: Skills for Life

Being able to identify and manage one's emotions is a skill that can be used for years to come. The elementary school age is the perfect time to start working with children to fine-tune this ability. However younger kids, older kids, and even adults, can benefit from examining the behavior in relation to the emotion. With some patience and consistency, you will be successful at helping your child manage their emotions!