What is an emotion?
An emotion is a guidance scale to let us know how far apart we are from our true selves. At its core our true nature is happiness, love, open hearted-ness (think of a young infant)
When we experience an emotion, any emotion, this is an indicator whether we are closer or further away from that set point.
When a child gets angry or sad we don’t want to make them feel guilty or wrong for experiencing that emotion (even if it makes absolutely no sense to us). What we want to do is hold them accountable for the expression of that emotion.
There are healthy ways to express negative emotions and it cannot be at the expense of someone else’s wellbeing and safety (like hitting).
When we validate our children’s emotions they learn:
- They are not wrong for feeling what they feel
- They feel heard and have a voice
- They matter
- They are able to tame it by naming it
Give children a healthy outlet to express their big feelings. I feel that an outlet that includes movement and sound are the best way to allow this flow to move quickly. Some ways to do this:
- Yell into a pillow
- Squeeze a blanket
- Go run outdoors
- Throw a ball against a wall
Once your child has calmed, you can provide more passive ways of expressing those emotions by transmuting them into something creative. For instance:
- Listen to music, sing
- Create Art such as painting, coloring
Our emotions are never wrong and it’s ok to feel all emotions. When we could hold space for our children’s big emotions they learn to feel safe and heard. They then learn to hold space for their own emotions as they get older and instead of stuffing them in or letting them come out sideways. They learn self-mastery of their own expressions, they learn to sit with the discomfort and listen to the valuable messages that these emotions bring up. (That’s for another post 😉 )