What To Do When Our Kids Have Big Feelings
As parents, we are often on the receiving end of our kids’ big, hard-to-have feelings. Anger. Sadness. Tantrums. Frustration. Worries. It can feel like a lot for a parent to handle. Sometimes our children’s feelings seem out of proportion to the situation. Sometimes their feelings are mystifying–they don’t seem to emerge from any trigger based in fact. And sometimes, their big feelings are about us, and we, in turn, have some big feelings of our own about that. So, what should we do when our kids express big feelings? (I’ll give you a hint: it has six letters and it starts with the letter “L.”)
That’s right. Listen. It sounds so simple, and yet it’s one of the hardest things for most parents to do competently and consistently. Most of us think we do a pretty good job of listening. But if we really pay attention to our responses to our children, we may find some areas for growth.
Here are some typical traps parents fall into from time to time, paired with some more empathic and supportive alternatives:
In our next blog, we’ll discuss 3 more parenting traps and suggest alternatives to use when children experience big feelings. When we role model healthier ways to handle big feelings, we help our kids develop critical emotional skills that will help them navigate all the big feelings they’ll encounter across the lifespan.
Sarah Ince, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worke