I am sure that most members of every family, have been on a roller-coaster of feelings the past few months. You may have all felt the same at certain points, but at others it’s been the children that have felt most bored, angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed, disappointed etc. Parents may have felt that everything was going ‘just fine/bearable’, so are thrown off guard by their children’s differing view.
Our feelings can change quickly and sometimes the people around us are not ready/prepared for that change. It can be a shock when someone at home snaps after being happy all morning. They seemed happy before and we don’t know why they are snapping now. Was it something that somebody did or has something else happened to spoil their mood? That’s why we need to talk to each other so we can avoid upset and misunderstanding!
Help with Expressing Feelings
Some children aren’t very good at sharing their feelings but adults need to help them to open up and get things off their chest. It’s much better than bottling them up inside as small negative feelings can turn into bigger ones. Try these methods to encourage children to open up:
- Talking about our feelings
If children are able to talk about their feelings, we are able to offer them understanding, advice and empathy. This in turn, will help them to feel better about themselves. Encourage them to tell you how they feel and be sure to listen when they do so they’ll be encouraged to keep talking and not hiding their feelings from parents.
- Notice their change in body language and temperament and start a conversation about it
Do they avoid certain subjects or activities? Could they be triggering negative feelings? If you notice a change at certain times/doing certain things, ask about it. Be honest, say you have noticed it and try to talk about it.
- Ask children outright how they feel and suggest some feelings if they don’t know
We experience new emotions as we grow, particularly during puberty. Some children don’t quite understand or can put words to these new feelings. You could talk about something you felt as a child in a similar situation or use others as an example. Let them know it’s normal to feel confused sometimes.
If our children share how they feel then we can help and be sympathetic to them. We can even change a situation, they are unhappy about. once we know what our children are feeling. Let’s help our children be confident about sharing their feelings and support them. Be open to what they say and try and make them part of a ‘normal’ conversation with them.