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Let’s Talk Parenting…Tips to Help Your Child Handle Uncomfortable Feelings

In young children everything is new and unfamiliar so uncomfortable feelings like anxiousness and fear seem normal. But what happens if these emotions remain as your child grows older? Is this normal or should you be concerned? It’s normal that parents wish to protect their children from difficult situations and uncomfortable feelings.

Emotional resilience is a person’s capacity to tolerate and manage their feelings, especially difficult or uncomfortable feelings. It’s also about how one copes with both daily stress and major life events.

It’s important to emphasize that the best way for parents to help their children is to promote their emotional resilience, so that they will able to tolerate and manage distressing emotions and challenging situations.

Parents can become emotion coaches to help their children build emotional resilience. Here are just a few tips.

Recognize, understand and accept feelings. Feelings are normal and we all have them. When we accept different feelings, talk about them, and share your own feelings our children will follow our example.

Express feelings appropriately. You can ask your child how they are feeling, listen carefully, summarize what your child shares with you, validate their feeling, avoid telling your child how they should feel. If behavior accompanies feelings that is unnecessary it is a good practice to emphasize that the feeling is ok but not the behavior. For example, “I know you are angry and that is ok but it is not ok to hit your brother.”

Help your child to develop an optimistic outlook. Encourage your child to set goals and get involved in activities. Remind them that “they can do it”.

Help your child learn ways to effectively cope with feelings and emotions.  You can use coping cards as a visual reminder and post them in prominent places. Controlled breathing like counting to 5 or 10 can slow down emotional and physical responses to situations which may provoke strong emotions.

If these tips aren’t working or your child’s emotional life is of concern, give our Family Connector a call at
403-320-4232 ext 204.

Our Family Connect can help you figure out whether talking to a Parent Coach, signing up for a discussion group or seeing a counsellor will help.