Feelings are a normal part of the human experience, but often we shame children for certain feelings. Or we send the message that they should be able to “control” their feelings. Some research suggests that this can actually produce anxiety in children, who feel they must be in control of all of their emotions. Instead, we should teach children that emotions are powerful messages that we can pay attention to, and ultimately what we can control is HOW we respond.
When your child is struggling, name the feeling and validate it. “I see that you are angry. That is a normal human emotion.” Then praise their coping mechanism or offer a more appropriate one.
“You must be proud that you remembered to do your deep breathing when you were angry.”
“It’s ok to be angry, but it’s not ok to speak to others that way. Can you think of some better ways to handle your anger next time or do you need some help with that?”
Consider Love and Logic parenting strategies to give logical consequences when children (of any age) act out inappropriately. The Love and Logic method takes the animosity off of your relationship with your child, and re-writes the equation so the animosity is related to your child’s behavior and it’s logical consequence.