Positive Parenting Tips: Help Your Child Regulate Their Emotions
My daughter just turned 4 and she is at times having trouble regulating her emotions from joyously happy to screaming on the floor because she wants a different coloured straw with her water, sometimes with just seconds in-between. She sometimes gets worried or is overwhelmed at a party.
Don’t get me wrong she is a confident, out going character but sometimes it just gets too much. I speak with my friends and it’s a shared experience but it’s a question that keeps coming up is how can I support her regulating her emotions? Thankfully I found some great positive parenting tips which I would love to share.
What The Experts Say
An article in the Huffington Post stated “Improved emotion regulation leads to benefits in all areas of a child’s life. Children who are able to regulate their emotions pay more attention, work harder, and achieve more in school. They are better able to resolve conflicts with their peers and show lower levels of physiological stress. They are also better behaved — and more caring towards others. (These conclusions are based, especially, on research by John Gottman and his colleagues on the benefits of parental Emotional Coaching)
Emotion regulation is an important idea with an unfortunate name. When we help children learn to regulate their emotions, we are doing much more than helping them control their temper. Yes, we need to teach them — and to insist — that if they want to talk with us about a problem, they must speak to us calmly. But emotion regulation is much more than anger management.” says Kenneth Barish Ph.D
It’s important to notice that we are talking about regulating emotions and not happiness. An issue that is outlined by Richard Weissbourd, “a Harvard psychologist, and author of The Parents We Mean To Be who “warns that ‘happiness-besotted’ parents do children a disservice by emphasizing personal fulfillment over empathy….Drawing on extensive field research, Weissbourd makes the case that parents, as models of behavior, must be vigilant about their own moral choices.” — The New Yorker
We need to let our children know it’s ok to feel their emotions, whether we perceive them to be positive or negative, as they all are essential to human development but we also need to help them regulate these some times explosive displays of emotional charge.
There is a wealth of fantastic information out there on supporting your child through this but I particularly liked a recent article in Psych Central with pointers by Sarah Leitschuh, LMFT, a psychotherapist who specializes in helping families develop healthy ways to communicate about and cope with emotions her core tips
Read books about emotions to your child.
Look to shows and movies to jump-start discussions.
Teach your child coping skills.
In the words of Sarah Leitschuh “Being in tune with our emotions is being in tune with ourselves. It helps us to better understand what we need. It helps us in communicating and connecting with others. Again, which is why it’s an incredible skill we can teach our kids and practice ourselves.”
I also found this article by Education.com enlightening on the subject of Emotional regulation.