Helping a child identify, understand, and learn how to manage their emotions better can be an essential part of your relationship, especially if they are getting in trouble for emotional outbursts at home or school.
Experiencing anger is a normal part of everyday life. It plays a positive role in identifying where there may be a problem or a need that is not being met, yet children must learn how to deal with anger appropriately. Many children suffer daily emotional stress and frustrations, especially if they experience family issues, which can boil over at school and cause them to get in trouble and struggle socially and academically. Failing to deal effectively with strong emotions can lead to problems not just now but also later in life, including a host of health problems.
You can help your Little or a child in your life learn to manage their emotions constructively by providing a safe space to discuss their feelings and by acting as a positive role model. You may be the one person they can talk to without feeling judged, and it is essential to try to see things from their perspective and validate their experience, regardless of how you may initially perceive it. As you likely know, it can be tough to reason when in the grip of strong emotions, so first, give the child a chance to express what they feel while practicing reflective listening. Reflective listening is a communication strategy involving two key steps: seeking to understand an idea, then stating the concept back to the other person to confirm you understood correctly.
Once they feel understood and more relaxed, you can help them name the emotion, identify the cause of the feeling, explore what the emotion felt like physically, and then problem-solve the best ways to respond to that emotion. This will help them understand why they experience these emotions in the first place, recognize what the emotions feel like so they can identify them before boiling over, and have several appropriate responses prepared to handle emotional situations correctly and avoid getting in trouble.
Just by being an outlet for them to talk about their emotions, you are probably already well on your way to influencing your Little for the better. You can also use these resources and specific tips and tools to work with your Little on these issues.
Find more resources for Bigs on our I’m A Big page. Your Match Support Specialist provides the password.