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  Processing Childrens Difficult Emotions  

Proverbs 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 18:14
A man's spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

These verses are clearly showing that a crushed spirit is painful and we need to be aware of the damage it causes to our personality and mental health. We all humans are EMOTIONAL BEINGS. Trying to deny or ignore this leads to unhealthy way of processing our emotions.

As Parents we need to be aware that our kids go through emotions as we go through. During these emotions they feel pain though these pain maybe subtle or intense. As we help them get in touch with this pain and feel it, they start to understand that their pain is valid.

The kids need our help to enable them to respond to the pain in a healthy way. Several experts have given valuable guidelines on how to process these feelings in children (both young and old) in a healthy way.

1. Parents be aware of which type of emotion your child is feeling. This involves interpreting the verbal expressions, tone and non-verbal expressions of the child.

Common types of emotions are - joy, excitement, happiness, contentment, longing, anger, loneliness, embarassment, fear, shame, sadness, feelings of betrayal, helplessness, depression, feeling unwanted or rejected.

2. See the child's feelings as an opportunity to connect with them at an emotional level. This will strengthen the bond between the parent and the child. Parents should not rush into giving solutions.

Both the tone of your voice and body language is crucial in communicating this message to them. Do not make fun of childs feelings that make you feel uncomfortable. Do not get angry or condemn or judge them for their state of feelings.

3. Draw the child out verbally to be able to express these emotions or feelings and to label these feelings or emotions correctly. Communicating to the child that you care for their feelings and respect their feeling reassures the child...

... This process will train the child (and in the beginning, the parent) to process his feelings and there after cope in a healthy way.

4. Validate the emotions, then show empathy and compassion to the child. Again parents should not rush into giving solutions.

GENTLY impress on the child even though all feelings are acceptable not all behaviour is acceptable. The behaviour has limits that child needs to watch out.

5. At a suitable time, collaborate with the child and help resolve the issue that triggered.

Today's Practical

See if you can pick up any emotions your child is facing today that you help with processing.

Also share with your kid that you are learning to identify and process the emotions.

Ask them which emotion in you that makes them uncomfortable and then share which emotion in them that makes you uncomfortable.

Express that you are committed to change and also help them to process theirs.