Teach my child about 'Emotions'
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Emotions Overview

Emotions Overview

There are a huge amount of potential emotions that children (and obviously adults too) can convey through their actions, expressions and feelings. Some basic emotions are anger, fear, disgust, contempt, joy, sadness, surprise, excitement and tenderness. There are plenty of other emotions too including shame, pride, jealously, guilt etc.

Some models of emotions show five steps to an emotion. The Schering model suggests:

  • Cognitive appraisal: an evaluation of a situation or an object
  • Bodily symptoms: physiological reaction to the situation
  • Action tendencies: getting ready for a physical response
  • Expression: facial and audible expression of the feeling
  • Feelings: experience of the state of emotions

The ability to manage your emotions is sometimes called Emotional Intelligence and taking steps to improve your child in this area will pay dividends in their future happiness, ability to relate to others, stress levels and usually how well they perform in their careers too.

What can I do to check my child's emotions are normal?

See our article 'DEVELOPMENT' which includes how to check whether your child's emotional level is age appropriate and suggests things you can do to improve it.

You can get a Free 'Child Emotions Analysis and Report' which asks your child to complete a quiz (ideal ages are 7 - 12). The report gives scores (out of 5) for various emotions and management of these emotions. There is an Overall Score for emotions based on 6 emotions (anger, anxiety, boredom, envy, guilt, sadness) and 3 emotional intelligence (EQ) skills (self awareness, managing emotions, empathy). There is also an associated worksheet to help your child improve in the weakest area.

Why should I monitor my child's emotional development?

Monitoring your child's emotional development means you are able to take early action if your child is lagging behind in this area. If you have any concerns, please consult a health professional as soon as possible. Early diagnosis maximises the chances of successfully improving your child's whole outlook on life and will increase their potential enormously.

How can I help my child to control emotions and show some self control?

Many adults are often not in control of their emotions and have low emotional intelligence. This will inevitably rub off on children who just copy parent behaviour. When a parent yells and a child sees this then that teaches the child that yelling is how you get rid of frustration. Yet when your child yells you will probably chastise them. This is unfair! So the first step in teaching your child self control of their emotions is to teach yourself first. This involves researching and finding methods to manage this like taking time out when stressed, counting to 10, listening to chilled out music more etc.

In Stephen R. Covey's famous book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which has sold millions of copies worldwide, he explains a few fundamental points which will help adults help themselves. One key item is that after a stimulus we are 100% responsible for choosing our reaction. So if someone drives badly we can choose to go crazy or we can choose otherwise. We can choose to shout and scream and teach our kids to react to a bad situation by being bad ourselves. Or we can choose to stay in control and demonstrate self control to our children.

Also we must deep down love and care for our children. If we don't spend time with them and show them that they are deeply valued, their insecurities can come out in ugly ways at times.

When your child does show strong emotions e.g. throws a tantrum, try not to punish them for it. Of course you should point out that any hitting or spitting is unacceptable but there are ways to help your child control their emotions at this point that are far more powerful than a punishment.

Raising a child's emotional intelligence is an important aspect of development and often neglected by schools and parents alike. Yet in terms of happiness and success it really can improve happiness, manage stress and help children relate to others. Emotional intelligence is said to consist of 4 aspects:

  • Self Awareness : being aware of your own emotions and how they can influence your behaviour
  • Self Management : controlling impulsive urges based on your emotions
  • Social Awareness : understanding the needs and emotions of other people and feeling at ease in social situations
  • Managing Relationships: Knowing how to maintain and improve good relationships in and out of work

In order to improve your child's emotional intelligence they need to learn some skills and practice applying them in real life situations in order to form a habit:

  • Stress Identification. When people get stressed they often go through similar physical or mental patterns. It is critical initially for your child to really tune in and start looking out for these incidents over the period of 2 or 3 weeks. Ask your child to write down any feelings or thoughts or triggers immediately after the incidents. Also write down their responses to these triggers (what did they do? Shout? Hit? Spit? Become withdrawn?)
  • Stress Management. Explore ways with your child of managing that stress by first of all explaining that they have the ability to choose their reaction and they do not have to use the 'usual' response if they choose not to. Then try to find some sensory input that will help. If your child gets angry, maybe it is a favourite cuddly toy or some relaxing music or pictures. Or if they withdraw maybe it is something more uplifting and inspirational.
  • Social Skills and Compromise : Explain to your child that many things in this world you cannot control (like other people and their opinions). Tell them it is normal for adults and children to have different thoughts and agendas. Explain that they cannot always get their own way but sometimes you will compromise and fulfil this promise. Don't try to win every battle. When children realise you are fair and are prepared to compromise yourself this will teach them some valuable social skills on how to negotiate in life and resolving disputes or conflicting ideas in an amicable way.
Conclusion

Most schools and parents/guardians do not teach children how to be in tune with their emotions and how to manage stress levels. Neither do they explain that emotional intelligence is a big factor on how far they will fly in life and that it is a skill that can be learnt with practice.

As a parent or guardian, if you want to help your child in this area, it would make sense to target an improvement yourself first because children will copy what they see more than what they are told.

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"Emotional Intelligence" activities for teens aged 13-18

"Emotional Intelligence" activities for teens aged 13-18

This includes checks on the intrapersonal scale, interpersonal scale, adaptability scale, stress management and the general mood scale.

 


"Emotional Intelligence" for children aged 8-10

"Emotional Intelligence" for children aged 8-10

This includes checks on the intrapersonal scale, interpersonal scale, adaptability scale, stress management and the general mood scale.

 


"Emotional Intelligence" for children aged 2-4

"Emotional Intelligence" for children aged 2-4

This includes checks on the intrapersonal scale, interpersonal scale, adaptability scale, stress management and the general mood scale.

 


"Emotional Animals" Game

"Emotional Animals" Game

This game helps to teach kids about emotions. Make up some dice with some emotions on (e.g. happy, sad, scared etc.) and another one with animal names on. Then act it out as described in this article with your child.

 


"How to teach Preschool Children about Emotions and Feelings" resource

"How to teach Preschool Children about Emotions and Feelings" resource

This article gives you 5 easy steps to help in this important aspect of child development.

 


"Using Emotion Cards" resource to help development of your child

"Using Emotion Cards" resource  to help development of your child

In this resource, firstly you are shown how to make the cards at home. Then once made, there are activities using these cards for 2 to 3 year olds, activities for kids around the the age of four (and just above) and also activities for even older children.

 

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