Parenting Tip #18 Teaching Our Kids How To Express Their Feelings Appropriately

It is important to teach our kids how to express their feelings appropriately & to reinforce them when they do. As I have said before "I" Statements are a great way to start. Yes it is important that we model how to express feelings. There will also be times when we have to tell our kids what we are observing & help them label their feelings, especially when they are little. I often ask my clients where they are feeling their feelings in their body. For example, most people feel anger in their shoulders, chests & hands. They often make fists, feel tension in their shoulders & chest & tend to have shallow breaths. When I notice that the kids I work with are angry, I often talk them through how to manage their feelings. I may encourage them to take a deep breath, focus on their breath & even open their hands up wide instead of balling their hands up in fists. 

I also ask my clients what they are thinking when they are angry, upset, sad. Sometimes they have a hard time identifying the feeling we may be observing so another strategy is to talk about their thoughts to help them identify their feelings. Also when we ask them what they are thinking may help us identify what triggered or set off the feeling. Additionally, it gives us insight into the type of thoughts are kids have when they are feeling angry, sad, worried, scared. etc.

It is also important that we let our kids know that we are listening to their feelings. We can do this by repeating what they are saying, summarizing & validating their feelings. By modeling to our kids that we are listening we are beginning to teach our kids how to listen. I will talk more about listening in my next blog.

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