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How to deal/manage/cope with emotions whlie parenting

June 8, 2015

Topic 9: How to deal/manage/cope with emotions

Identify, talk, identify. As a parent, we first must be able to identify our own feelings and manage our own reactions before we can “coach” or “guide” our children to managing their emotions. However, once we are able to identify our own emotions, we can begin to identify our children’s emotions. When we are able to empathize and help our children put a word with their emotion we are helping to release positive chemicals in our children’s brain in relation to us (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19580564). When we are able to empathize with anyone, including our children, a positive chemical called oxytocin is released which helps our child feel more bonded, security, and trusting of us—who wouldn’t want that.

Your next question may be, “how can I do this?” Well, there are a variety of ways, but here are a few.

  1. Communicate with your child.
    • When your child comes to you with a problem, communicate, ask questions, and identify their feelings. These sentences below should be the FIRST thing out of your mouth when you child comes to you with a problem or good part of their day. It helps release positive chemicals in relation to you!
      • Ex: “You sure sound sad about losing that game.”

“That must be really frustrating when nobody listens to you”

“You sure sound embarrassed”

“That must have made you angry”

“You sound really proud of yourself”

  1. Role model appropriate ways to manage emotions, especially anger
    • Anger is an emotion every human feels, however we have the choice of how we deal or manage our anger.
    • Ideas for managing anger:
      • Walk away to calm down
      • The one we always hear about it count to 10—which works for many people.
      • Bring yourself back into reality—when you are angry negative chemicals flood your brain and prevent you from thinking clearly, so bring your chemicals back into check by stating 3 things from each of your senses
        • I see a tree. I see a table. I see grass. I hear the cars. I hear my breathing. I hear a pencil tapping. I smell mowed grass. I smell rain coming. I smell exhaust. I can feel my shirt. I can feel my toes in my shoes. I can feel my sunglasses on my head. Taste is sometimes more difficult, but can be added if needed.
  1. Once everyone is calm
    • Communicate
    • Don’t blame
    • Look for the underlying cause
    • Talk about when that same event happens next time
    • Encourage, Encourage, Encourage (Expect your child to succeed because you have built in them the courage to make the right choices and you have role modeled how to appropriately handle anger)/

** Just remember, what your child sees has more of an impact than what they are told to do or not do to. If they see you angry, let them see you managing your anger in an appropriate way so that one day, when you are not around, they will have the coping skills to manage angry without throwing, yelling, or hitting.

*Most of this information is taken from the curriculum Active Parenting. However, I have also done my own research and added it in when necessary. I am not marketing Active Parenting nor do I get anything from the sales of Active Parenting. (Michael Popkin, Ph.D., 2014)

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