Managing Negative Emotions in Your Children (and Your Own)

negative emotions in kids- Parenting resources by ZenParent

A little girl who finds a puzzle frustrating might ask her busy mother (or teacher) for help. The child gets one message if her mother expresses clear pleasure at the request and quite another if mommy responds with a curt ‘Don’t bother me – I’ve got important work to do.” – Daniel Goleman

I started with this quote since it is something each of us  have probably been guilty of, as parents, and we must admit that it is probably one of the worst mistakes we make. In order to support our children and connect with them on every level, it is crucial that their emotions and the reasons for those emotions are clearly understood. As a mother, I have realized that I must increase my own emotional intelligence before I can help my daughter manage and adjust to her emotions, especially the negative ones. Being able to manage negative emotions benefits a child in many ways – social interactions, performance at school, self-esteem and other such realms.

1. First and foremost, as a parent I realize that learning to manage emotions is an on-going and relentless process and if I am also responsible to help my child manage hers, I need to keep an open mind to learning how.

handling negative emotions in children- Parenting resources by ZenParent

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2. In the process of learning, I have understood that negative emotions are the ones that need the most acknowledging. This means that I allow her to display her emotions rather than forcing her to deny them and this also presents opportunities to form an even better understanding of each other with more tenderness.

3. When my daughter began to understand herself as an individual, there was the obvious assertion of the same and being ‘new’ to this realm. It often came out in the form of negative emotions like anger, irritation, back talking and others. At first, I was taken aback and believed that she was questioning my authority as a parent and tried to deal with it in the same way. I soon realized that I should rather show her that I understand even the tiniest problem and that I am there for her and if we tackled it together, it would ‘run miles away from her’.

4. None of us are born with emotional intelligence and it is important that we learn it along the way. Only when we build this capability as adults, can we ‘teach’ it to our children. And yes, emotional intelligence is a process and not a one-time learning. And as the child gain more confidence, their social intelligence also grows making them more balanced and well-tuned individuals.

5. As parents, we also came to understand that our child needed a family atmosphere that valued her and even her negative emotions. We had to first manage our own negative feelings and outbursts, sometimes with each other J in order to show her that dismissing negative emotions was not required but managing them was.

help your child deal with negative emotions- Parenting resources by ZenParent

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6. Often, in my anxiety to sort out the negative emotion, I would leave out a very critical portion – the reason or the events that led to my daughter feeling negatively about certain things. I realized that I could engage her in a discussion wherein she could tell me everything that she thought led to her negative outburst. Many times, it turned out that her frustration developed because of something completely unrelated to what she would be currently displaying.

7. I am a parent but I am also a human being with limitations and negative emotions. I came to realize that in trying to help her with dealing with frustrations and negativity, I would often forget to accept and address my own. The feelings would get pent up and even the smallest instance would trigger off a barrage of negativity and unpleasantness, which would ruin the whole family atmosphere and upset her significantly. Back then, I had really defeated the whole process of bringing her up in a positive environment. Not anymore! 🙂

Managing and helping children deal with negative emotions is about increasing your own and the child’s acceptance of even the negatives and lend them an environment where it is possible to express oneself without inhibition. I am still learning – what about you? 

Click here to read on how to effectively enhance your child’s emotional intelligence.

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