Understand your Child’s Emotions
As a parent, you might have noticed your child showing mixed emotions in different situations. At times, she may be super excited and then there might be times when she may get easily agitated. She might be a very happy and cheerful person but sometimes she may withdraw and become distressed. However, you must understand that just like a child undergoes physical development, in a similar way, a child also experiences an emotional change as she grows. During the process, your child may show negative signs like throwing tantrums or being stubborn. However, you should try and understand that such a personality would not last long in your child as it is a temporary phase.
It is important for you to understand your child’s emotions and try to find out the reasons behind such emotions. Make sure that you handle your child carefully during this phase as it can also have negative consequences if not dealt with proper caution. For the same, try and keep yourself calm and monitor your child’s daily routine so that you can be aware of what is troubling your child. Given below are some useful guidelines which will help you understand your child’s emotions:
Talk to your child – Speak to your child to get a clear picture of what she feels whenever she shows impulsive reactions such as getting angry instantly, screaming, crying, feeling frustrated, etc. Gently ask her why she is acting in this way and let her express what is in her mind. Use kind words during the conversation so that your child can easily start the conversation. For instance, instead of using words like ‘what is wrong with you?’ or ‘why are you so sad?’ try saying ‘you seem upset, would you like to talk to me about it?’ Be patient – Make sure that you are patient and quiet while dealing with your child when she is emotionally upset. Look at her while she is talking and assure her that you are attentively and patiently listening to her. Further, do not interrupt her while she is talking to you as this will give your child a sense of satisfaction and help her feel acknowledged. Give your child enough space – There may be times when your child does not want to talk about what is bothering her. Help her look for ways to cool her down and talk to her only when she feels better and is in the right frame of mind to share her feelings and express her emotions freely.
Observe your child’s actions on a normal day – Monitor your child’s activities, behaviour and mood swings on every day basis, to know how she behaves in different circumstances. For this, you need to keep a track of her activities in the daily routine, such as studying, playing with her friends, watching television, dining with the family, etc. and check how she reacts to different people and situations.
Recognise your child’s emotions – Learn how to read the feelings and emotions of your child. Watch the facial expressions and body language of your child to recognise how she is feeling and get a better understanding on how to interact with her at that point of time. For instance, if you see your child upset and sad just after losing in a game or having a fight with her best friend, leave her alone for some time and after some time, talk to her about the matter. This will help you to bond with your child and build a meaningful relationship with her.
Monitor her television viewing time – Observe your child’s television viewing time and make a note of her favourite shows on television. Even if it is a cartoon show, make sure that your child is not exposed to negative acts of violence on television, as she may get influenced easily and may even imitate such undesirable actions in real life.
Make leisure time fruitful for her – Indulge your child in healthy and productive activities such as drawing, reading story books, making crafts, etc. Productive activities will keep your child occupied and will also channelise her energy towards something progressive.
Coach her if she gets out of control – Provide feedback to your child about her behaviour. When your child calms down, explain her that feelings and intense emotions, come and go. Do not coach her when she is upset, instead talk to her once she calms down as your child will be able to think more clearly and will be able to understand what could have been a more appropriate way to handle the situation.
Teach coping strategies – Teach different coping strategies like listening to music, colouring, drawing, going to a quiet area, squeezing a ball or stuffed toy, blowing bubbles, drinking a glass of cold water, etc. to help your child gain control over her emotions. Also, make sure that you identify appropriate coping strategies for your child because each child is different and will need different techniques to cool down.
Lead by example – Children learn a lot from others and are very quick to pick up and mimic behaviours, either good or bad, that they have seen exhibited by others. So, be a good role model and practice what you preach. Do not say inappropriate things in front of your child and never let your own emotions burst out. Make sure you always demonstrate a positive behaviour, whatever the situation may be, so that your child can learn how to calm down and relax when she finds herself in similar situations.
Support your child and acknowledge her emotions – Support your child by giving her hugs and kisses and reassure her that you are always there for her. When your child is angry, sad, upset or afraid, tell her that it is natural to experience these emotions and everyone feels the same during such situations. Also, make sure that instead of complaining and thinking of what went wrong that compelled your child to reflect such emotions, help her think of ways how she can overcome the emotional distress.
In the end, remember that as a parent, you should think from your child’s perspective as well. You should realise that the reasons due to which your child shows these emotions may seem silly for you but may be serious causes of concern for her. So, help your child to think before she acts, by making her feel that you are doing so not because you do not understand her feelings, but because negative emotions are bad for her physical as well as psychological health. Put your sincere efforts in assisting your child to acquire self-control over her emotions, in a loving & consistent manner. Also, believe in your child that as she grows up, she will develop better control over her feelings. With your love, support and trust, your child will be able to acquire inner peace, which in turn will make her life happier and also make your parenting successful.
Mrs. Meenal Arora is the Executive Director of SHEMROCK Preschools & the Founder Director of SHEMFORD Futuristic Schools, which is the K-12 School Chain of SHEMROCK. Mrs. Meenal Arora is a thoroughbred education researcher and a committed educational professional, who works with a passion for quality & innovation. Under her dynamic leadership, the Group has established 375+ SHEMROCK Preschools & SHEMFORD Senior School branches located in India and Nepal. Mrs. Meenal Arora is also a well-known author who has co-authored several preschool books, papers and articles.