Technology is booming, material demands are higher than ever and our lives are busier than we ever thought possible. And as more and more grown-ups find the pulse of life overwhelming, our kids are feeling the effects too.
It’s now more important than ever to raise grounded children in this chaotic, fast paced world. As a Bringing Baby Home Educator, I equip parents on how to build their child’s confidence in order to handle life’s ups and downs with ease.
Research shows that more than IQ, emotional intelligence, or the ability to manage feelings, determines how successful your child is at life. If you want to raise kids who are independent and self-assured, you need to be able to practice emotion coaching.
Emotion coaching is the opposite of emotion dismissing. We often say the following: “Stop crying. It’s not that bad.” “You shouldn’t be upset. It’s not the end of the world.” “If you yell and scream one more time, mommy/daddy will put you in the naughty corner!” Emotions are tough to manage when you’re a wee little one, and children often have a hard time comprehending how and why they feel a certain way. The above statements are dismissive and send the message that how they feel shouldn’t matter, or worse, how they feel is wrong. Additionally, they also convey the notion that the child is “bad” in some way (ie. Sending them to the naughty chair to “think” about their inappropriate actions).
Instead, use their outbursts and overwhelm as an opportunity to connect. Validating their feelings like “You sound so upset! I can totally understand why you’d feel that way!” or “I know you’re angry, and it’s ok to be angry about that” allows the opportunity for the child to learn about what they’re feeling and attach meaning to it. It also allows the opportunity for them to express themselves, and then regulate how they feel.
Validation and empathy are key, but another important factor that can’t be forgotten is the ability to help your child self-soothe and problem solve. Being able to control their emotions and bring them back to a place of calm is a critical step. Once calm, help them see that some of their reactions may very well be inappropriate, but allow them some opportunity to find better ways of managing their emotions in the future. Asking questions like “How can you do it differently next time?” or “What other ways could you have handled your anger?” are effective ways of giving kids the tools they need to look for solutions and find some common ground.
Living in a world of NOW fosters unmanageable expectations for kids that then leave them feeling angry, upset and fraught with emotion. It is our job as adults to help them understand their inner emotions in order to grow better socially, emotionally and intelligently.