We all want to raise kids who grow up to be self-disciplined and cooperative adults one day. Of course, the million-dollar question is “how?” Thankfully, more than five decades of research reveals a key factor: Children behave and cooperate much better when parents understand the process behind…
How kids learn to manage emotion
For starters, brain development plays a key role in a child’s ability to calm big emotions and self-soothe. However, he still needs parents who accept his emotions and then teach him how to calm himself during emotional snarls. Put another way, your little one needs thousands of opportunities to feel supported as he deals with his big upsets. Those key moments help him how to manage emotion a little bit better each time. For example, when your little one is uncooperative, angry, or fearful, he is usually signaling that he needs you to “witness” his unresolved feelings. He needs you to take his perspective (without judgement) and recognize and accept his emotions in that moment. As you do that, your loving presence expands his awareness of himself. Even more, it helps him calm down, manage emotion and find his balance again.
The good news is that, when he knows that his feelings are recognized and “allowed,” he won’t store them up or act them out. As a result, he will become far more ready, willing, and able to manage emotion, even intense emotion(s) because he has the support he so desperately needs.
A Point to Ponder
Do something extraordinary today! Help him continue to put language to his feeling states. For example, “Sweetie, your behavior tells me that you don’t like it when mommy says no. My guess is that you’re either mad, sad, or angry right now. Which one is it?” Doing so is a game-changer because when kids can talk-it-out they are far less to act-it-out!
Author: Steve Cuffari For many, Steve Cuffari is the mentor that parents call on to make their parenting style warmer, easier and more affective. He is the founder of inTouch Parenting, a company devoted to helping today's parents calm the chaos, raise emotionally intelligent kids, and nurture families that thrive. read more about Steve Cuffari here...