Emotions are felt and experienced internally. But when expressed well externally, they have the power to make you feel like a healthy human being.
As adults, you find it easy to lash out at someone if you are angry, jump in excitement if you are happy or cry when you are upset. You can do all of this because as we grow, we learn to process our emotions and express them rationally.
Then again, there are those people who are successful in their careers, but face tough times in their personal life as they are scared to express their feelings. Ever wondered why? This occurs because of two primary reasons: one, because as they were growing up they were not encouraged to show their expression; two, they were stopped when they were trying to express.
To give you an example, you must have seen parents, in public places, often getting embarrassed /angry when their kids are crying or yelling. Now they can either yell back at them or try to make them stop and of course another alternative is to talk to them about it and handle the situation in a better way.
Research suggests that when children are yelled at when they are attempting to express anger, they either just stop talking about how they feel or act rebellious or do the exact opposite. Both these alternatives are not healthy for the child and this can result in mental issues in the future. You don’t want that for your child, so here’s how you can hone them to grow up to be emotionally sound individuals.
– The trick lies in helping toddlers to recognise their feelings; once they use their words and tell you how they feel, name it. For example – “Your toy just broke, how do you feel about that?” Do you feel sad about it? It’s okay if you want to cry.” This educates them about that particular feeling and let’s them know that it is normal to be “upset”
– You can then start by talking about your own feelings and setting a good example. Tell them that you feel excited about your birthday party, that when he/she did something wrong you felt hurt. Express emotions, take your time to calm down and teach them the right way to direct their feelings.
– Appreciate their acknowledgement of emotions, tell them how you are proud of them when they acted smart in a tough situation. Such kind of positive reinforcement helps them to be emotionally competent. (Children who can deal with his/her emotions well are known to have emotion “competence”)
– Don’t name the emotions as “good” or “bad”. Neutralize the emotions. Primarily, just give them the tools to handle their feelings for their well-being.
– If ever the child fails to act in a certain way, have a polite conversation with them on how they could have handled that particular situation better.
We all want the best for our kids and it’s impossible and impractical to protect them from the outer world their (and your) entire life. Hence, grooming them well and helping them talk about their feelings will improve their emotional literacy and turn them into happy individuals, internally as well as externally!