Award winning, educationist, author and blogger Remediana Dias shares with Pregnancy to Parenthood how to handle kids while they are showing big emotions.
As adults, we encounter a lot of challenges in life. But nothing is more difficult than parenting. Being a parent has made me realize that dealing with upsets is one tough thing. My twins are very expressive and though only five and half years old, whenever they are told to do something, they like to reason a lot. And sometimes they express a lot of big feelings. They could be upset after a fall, or because one got a fright, or when another kid jumps on the swing first, or when they are tired, or when they fight. The otherwise strong kids once upset, become very emotionally fragile and look to us to help them through it.
And we begin to wonder what to do. We don’t know whether we should sympathize or encourage them to change their attitude or distract them or focus on the positives.
Parent’s Role in Managing Child’s Emotions
Parents play a very important role to help children build strong self-regulation skills. All kids will take time to build them up. No two kids are alike. We have to remember that what they lack on one front, they’ll make up for in another. It is a big task for children to regulate their feelings and behaviour, self-soothe, and stop very valid feelings spinning out of control, but important ones for them to learn. And developing self-regulation skills should be done with love.
Children naturally throw tantrums or emotional outbursts. Every outburst is an opportunity to steer them in a different direction and to strengthen the skills they need to manage their emotions in a way that works for them. We sometimes think—“Oh I am not an effective parent. My parenting skills are bad. That’s why my child throws a tantrum.” Remember tantrums are NOT a sign of bad parenting or bad kids. They are never that. Never take tantrums or your child’s wild behaviour personally. Taking it personally will do more harm than good. It can make it more difficult to use them as an opportunity to nurture valuable skills in your child.
Let children explore books, watch movies or tv programmes that encourage self-regulatory behaviour in kids. Let kids express themselves through art and craft. Providing opportunities through playdates and interactions with the other family members like relatives and cousins will help too. We are raising humans, and it’s hard. The path is a crooked one with plenty of ups and downs. Some people will never understand. Let that be their problem, not yours.
Remediana Dias is an educationist, author, and blogger based in Dubai. She hails from Goa, India. She enjoys blogging (https://dyslexiagoa.wordpress.com) and writing about issues related to education.