Part two focuses on Do or Not to DO – Help a Child Deal with Emotional Outbursts.
Emotional outbursts can make life difficult both for you and your kid. In Part one of this article, we learned about the causes of emotional outbursts and how you can cope with your child’s outbursts. In this article, we shall learn how to help your child regulate and control their emotions.
To a large extent, emotional control is learned naturally and over time. However, there are ways you can assist your child in developing emotional awareness and adopting positive coping skills.
Healthy Coping Skills for your Child:
Help your child to recognize emotions:
Your child should learn how to recognize and define their feelings effectively. Teach them about their emotions and let them know they exist with everyone. Always name their emotions, such as “you look sad” or “you seem anxious,” to improve their knowledge. Also, define your emotions but soberly. For example, you can say, “I feel sad that I can’t visit my friend tomorrow,” or “I feel angry that you broke my phone.”
You can also help your child recognize feelings by bringing up conversations about the feeling of characters on TV shows and in storybooks. Ask them about characters’ feelings to improve their knowledge of emotions. As a result, they will learn to label their feelings and emotions and become mentally strong with time.
Redirect defiant behavior
Let your child know that it is okay to feel angry, but it is not okay to misplace anger and be purposefully defiant due to anger, either emotional or physical. Help them learn ways to handle their feelings in a socially acceptable manner. Let your child know that they have choices to respond to negative feelings and that negative reactions may result in a logical consequence.
Validate Your Child’s Feelings:
Your child’s feelings are valid even when they seem to be exaggerated. Always show your child that you understand their feelings and show them empathy. For example, you can validate their feelings by letting them know that you also feel bad when you don’t get what you want. That way, they will realize that it is normal to feel mad and not last forever.
NOTE: The realization that feelings come and go can help your child to be a bit composed amidst the outburst
It is normal to feel overwhelmed and sometimes confused by your child’s emotional outbursts. Let them know that you acknowledge their emotions even when you don’t understand why they behave in the way they do. Feeling ‘understood’ can significantly help your child in the journey of recognizing, coping, and understanding their feelings. Do not try to ‘fix’ your child’s emotions, and neither should you refer to them as ‘wimps.’
As a side note: Emotional outbursts are not signs of weakness: We all have different temperaments, and sensitivity could be a part of your child’s temperament.
Teach Them Emotional Regulation Tactics:
The ability to control overwhelming emotions largely depends on your child’s development mileage and age. While most children about the age of 7 years successfully control their feelings, others still struggle with emotional outbursts.
Here are some regulation tactics that can help your child manage their emotions effectively:
- Teach your child deep breathing and encourage them to use it when they feel upset.
- Teach them to distract their mind from negative feelings through counting. They can, for instance, count down from 100 or count the number of tiles until they feel they come.
- Please encourage them to take a break from whatever they are doing until they feel calm.
- Please solve the problem together by asking them for their input on the issue at hand. Please help them come up with creative solutions and encourage them to apply them in the future.
- Please help your child identify their mood boosters, such as reading or playing outside, and encourage them to utilize them when they have negative emotional outbursts.
Do Not Reinforce Outbursts:
- While you may reward your child’s effort to remain calm during an emotional outburst, carefully make it a trend or give them gifts to calm down. Such a move will encourage bad behavior and make it hard to learn self-control.
- Balance the amount of attention given when a raising tantrum occurs. Your child may end up thinking that the best way to get your attention is by getting upset.
- Don’t always calm down your child. Let them also learn skills to calm themselves down and handle their own emotions and walk themselves alongside you to a calm space.
- Reframing from stopping your child from crying or stop feeling what they are feeling. They might feel uncared for and unloved.
- Resist speaking about your child’s vulnerable emotions to other people, especially in their presence, no matter what they have done, including teachers and other professionals, or simply not having the child present in the conversation.
Challenge your child:
Rather than protecting your child from the things that upset them, challenge them to pull themselves together and face them. Your child needs more practice handling different emotions in different settings since they will face these challenges as they continue to mature. Rather than sheltering them from big emotions, give them ample opportunities and space to manage them.
Our Parting Shot:
At Kids on the Yard, we approach self-management skills in the same manner we approach academic or social skills. We believe that emotional management is a skill that both children and parents should learn.
Learn More about our SEL Programs and Life Coaching programs for Kids and Beyond by contacting us at 844-902-4242 Toll-Free.
You can also visit our website at https://kidsontheyard.com/coaching/.