Life is full of chaos these days. As adults, sometimes it becomes difficult to identify, understand and cope with our emotions. And often we can’t recognise what we’re really feeling. Our coping mechanism makes us ignore our feelings or pretend they don’t exist. In worst case scenario we turn to unhealthy habits like Emotional Eating, smoking, alchohol, etc.
With so much exposure, kids are flabbergasted with new things everyday. It’s natural for them to get confused and overwhelmed by the emotions they feel everyday. They can’t understand their emotions and they don’t know how to deal with them. They have meltdowns and tantrums. They kick. They scream. They sob. They stomp their feet. They start throwing things.
As parents, it’s our role to introduce them to the emotions and teach about them. When I say teach them I don’t mean by lecturing them or fill their gentle minds with information. Teach them about emotions by giving examples from everyday life, answering their questions and being a role model.
The Nine Big Emotions
The first lesson in love should be to show our children what being loved feels like through our actions. However, it’s not about the love that we feel by buying or giving them things. It’s about the love that is shared when spending time with them, teaching them, talking about the hard stuff, listening to their stories and the small things — creating those memories that last a lifetime! Remember your childhood? What do you remember the most? Playing together, talking about things, cooking together, cleaning together. Isn’t it? Those were the moments and memories our parents gave us to cherish for our lifetime. Those moments are the ones our kids will remember too — the ones that truly show them love, how special they are and that we are here for them. By teaching our children about love, they will learn to love themselves and have self- confidence. They will develop prudence to differentiate between what is love and what is not love.
A good joke or a little humour can brighten up any dull day. Helping our kids developing a good sense of humour will help them in adult life in dealing with tough situations. Laughing together is a great way to connect, and a good sense of humour also can make kids smarter, healthier and better able to cope with challenges. A sense of humour actually is a learned quality that can be developed in kids, and it’s not something they’re born with. Humour is what makes something funny, whereas a sense of humour is the ability to recognise it. Kids with a well-developed sense of humour are happier and more optimistic, have higher self-esteem, and can handle differences (their own and others’) well. A key aspect to developing your child’s sense of humour is to take time to have fun as a family. Share jokes, play games, and watch funny movies together.
Children have an inborn quality of compassion. With so much hatred in the world today, it’s more important than ever to raise a compassionate child who can understand others and be kind to them. As parents, we have the biggest influence in nurturing empathy in our children. Whenever we get a chance to practice a random act of compassion, we must do so! Remember to NEVER disrespect anyone in front of your children. The key is to demonstrate empathy ourselves, starting with showing that we understand and care about our children’s feelings and treating our partners and people outside the family with compassion. It’s also important to talk about our own emotions—not to overburden our kids but to openly share normal feelings.
Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. But without appropriate anger management skills, kids struggle to express their feelings in a socially appropriate manner. Frustration and anger can quickly turn into defiance, disrespect, aggression, and temper tantrums if your child doesn’t know how to deal with his emotions. The best way to teach our children how to deal with anger is by showing them how we deal with our emotions when we feel angry. If our children watch us losing temper, they’ll likely do the same. But, if they see us cope with our feelings in a kinder, gentler way, they’ll pick up on that too. Children need to know appropriate ways to deal with anger.
Courage isn’t about something magical that happens inside of us that makes us ‘not scared’. It’s something magical that happens inside of us that makes us overcome our fear, self-doubt and anxiety to do the things that feel hard or risky or frightening. We should encourage our children to do those things that make them scared by doing those things together. This way we will instill self-trust, confidence and fearlessness in carrying that activity without any doubt. If walking through a bridge seems scary to your child, take a walk together. We must help our children develop this great quality from a young age so that they can live bravely and be true to their own selves as they grow up. We must always praise our children on accomplishing a task which looked scary or tough to them.
We all are afraid of something. We’re born with a sense of fear so we can react to something that could be dangerous. Babies cry when they’re afraid, even if that loud noise that startled them is just a sneeze or a cough. The baby cries and mom comes over to soothe him or her, helping the baby feels safe and OK again. The best way to get over a fear is to get more information about it. As our kids get older, they understand more and start seeing the difference between real and pretend. Our children get scared the most when the lights go out and their imagination starts playing tricks. What’s under my bed? Is that a noise I hear? With our help, kids can get more comfortable in the dark. Shining a flashlight under the bed to see that there’s nothing there can help fight that fear. Also remember, don’t push your child to race beyond his courage. Go slow.
Disgust is one of the most basic human responses that start in our early childhood. Adults find a wide variety of things disgusting – slugs and bugs, germs and mucus and lying and cheating. But what kids think is disgusting for them is not definitive. Many children get fascinated by what adults find disgusting, like slugs and bugs; and feel disgusted with things like kissing and food! Expressing disgust is a very important part of healthy social behaviour. We should teach our children certain values and morals, and also, that they have to follow these, then there is a high chance of them getting offended or feel disgusted when something opposite to those morals or values takes place. If disgust helps them to live up to the expectations they know are important, then it plays a very positive role with the voices inside their heads.
A new study done by Paul Piff found that experiencing a sense of awe promotes altruism, loving-kindness, and magnanimous behaviour. Remember, as a kid, getting amused by tall skyscrapers, colourful bunch of balloons, airplane landing and taking off? Children have an amazing sense of wonder and they find awe in every new thing they come across. Sometimes it can be overwhelming for them too. Now, don’t complain about getting bombarded by questions. That’s their way of discovering new things. They look for answers all the time. As parents, the responsibility of answering those questions satisfactorily lies on us. The answers shouldn’t be vague but not too technical as well. The answers should be in a simple language so that it becomes easy for our kids to comprehend. The questions and answers open their minds to newer things and stimulate their mind.
In children, calm doesn’t come naturally. We have to teach and train our children to stay calm when the need arises. Teach them deep breathing. Slow deep breathing has a very helpful calming effect. Getting children to practice breathing in deeply and breathing out very slowly, can help to calm down angry feelings. It will not happen in a day but with regular practice.
I have written this blog for #NavratriHoppers Blog Train. 9 days of festivities made merrier by 12 fabulous bloggers. I want to thank Ruchi, who blogs at Wiggling Pen, for passing the baton. I would like to introduce Rashmi who blogs at Ajisthsmomstyle. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for some awesome brew from this amazing mama.