Helping our children to deal with their emotions is a vital part of parenting. Emotions are not necessarily a bad thing, but we as parents can get upset if we see anger or sadness or frustration expressed in our children. We believe that part of our job is to shelter them from negative emotions and experiences, and help them to live happy lives. While this is a noble pursuit, it is not necessarily of benefit to them.
We all come into this life knowing that we will experience a range of emotions and challenging situations. If we did not have this contrast we would not learn and grow during our lifetime. We would remain one-dimensional so to speak.
Emotions Are a Learning Tool
Different emotions and situations help us to experience a range of feelings and events that we can learn from. If we were to constantly experience sunny weather, we wouldn’t appreciate the sunshine as much. We would take it for granted, seeing and feeling the same thing every day. We’d also miss out on the beauty and awe of a thunder and lightning storm or the magnificence of snow, and all the range of weather conditions that bring us such variety and splendor.
In the same way, our emotions serve us in various ways. The key is to be able to observe the emotions subjectively, to learn from them, without getting caught up in feelings of blame, guilt, fear, pity or judgment, of both ourselves and of others.
Learning to Release Painful Emotions
When we engage with negative emotions such as anger or fear, we can become caught up in them, unable to release the emotion and missing out on the lessons that they have to teach us. We can also store this energy in our bodies for prolonged periods, sometimes leading to sickness if not released. If we allow the emotion to flow through us, however, we can observe and learn from it.
Children are actually very good at letting emotions flow, crying one moment, laughing the next and then angry or frustrated, all within a short space of time. The reason for this is that they allow themselves to experience the emotion fully as it arises; but instead of holding onto it and analyzing it as adults tend to do, they release it as quickly as it arrived. This is good!
Our Reaction is Key
When we see strong emotions arising, however, in our children we can react negatively. It can also awaken our emotional bodies leading us into negative emotional patterns in response. If we then try to control or limit the child’s emotional behavior this can in turn lead to a strong reaction from the child often in the form of more negative emotions. It can all be quite overwhelming.
If we take a step back we can see what is going on. Children are emotional beings, just as we are, and they have a right to express their emotions. When we respond by telling them to stop being bold or to stop behaving that way, we try to suppress their emotional reaction. This leads to frustration and a feeling of being misunderstood. We haven’t tried to assess the source of the emotion; we only reacted to the behavior.
Before reacting, if we ask the child what happened or why are they upset and give them a chance to explain, we will not only understand their behavior better but we will teach them that it is okay to express emotions and that we will not judge them for it or try to overpower their behavior. We can also help our child to work through an emotion when we recognize it and help them to understand their feelings.
Excerpted from the book Angels Aid, Guided Meditation for Children and Parents by Sandra Rea
About the Author
Sandra Rea is an author, speaker, teacher and healer. Her upcoming book Angels Aid, Guided Meditation for Children and Parents is now available to pre-order. She helps people to release limiting thoughts and behavior that is holding them back and reconnect with the highest divine expression of themselves. She lives in Ireland where she spends her days doing the work that she loves, meditating and having fun with her children. Visit her website [www.angelicbodies.ie] to find out more.