Managing Strong Emotions: A Guide for Parents to Help Themselves and Their Children

01 May 2023   |   by Julissa DiStefano   
Parenting is a difficult task that necessitates emotional control. Being able to control your emotions can make or break your ability to guide your child in a loving manner.

When emotions are poorly managed, the neurological system becomes overloaded, leading to overeating, procrastination, and even fighting with partners. Emotions can easily take over and lead to a downward spiral. The ability to control one's emotions is essential for excellent parenting. It aids in the development of your child's calmer brain and nervous system, making them easier to live with now and resilient for the rest of their lives. Emotional control is difficult, and it is the most difficult labor any parent will ever undertake, yet it is doable.

Allowing oneself to feel your emotions is the key to emotional regulation. You clean away your own unfinished business by holding yourself with kindness and avoiding the temptation to act. Sitting with your troubles, whether they are caused by fear, hurt, or grief, allows them to pass. This procedure melts the armor that surrounds your heart, allowing love to flood in.

Instead of ignoring their child's negative behavior, parents should meditate. Children require parental guidance, but emotional dysregulation can be terrifying. Fear creates resistance, and you cannot guide your child from an upset state. You can only adjust and control yourself, which affects how the child responds to you.

How Do Children Learn Emotional Regulation?

Parents teach their children about emotional regulation. Children will eventually mimic their parents' tantrums. When parents can maintain their cool, their children learn to do the same. Parental emotional safety allows children to heal, grow, and thrive. Calm reintroduces youngsters to loving connection, allowing them to feel and perform better.

Children are more likely to follow their parents' lead when they respect and feel understood by them. They see that they may not always get what they want, but they do get something better in the form of a parent who understands even when they say no. Children are very aware of their parents' moods and conflicts. If a parent has an unresolved issue, the child will pick up on it subconsciously and behave out.

Even if they have developed certain negative behaviors, it is never too late for children to learn to manage their emotions. It all starts with parental role modeling. The path to emotional control is a lifetime one, but it begins with becoming aware of your moods and sensations. Resisting the temptation to act while agitated and holding oneself compassionately can help you calm down before acting.

Emotion regulation is difficult, but each time you accomplish it, you are rewiring your brain and enhancing your ability to remain calm in the future. When parents respond differently, the child will alter as well. Responding without thinking exacerbates the storm, whereas responding with love and respect while setting limits can calm it down.

Strategies for Managing Emotions

Little kids can be unreasonable and irrational, making it easy to become frustrated or overwhelmed. But, keep in mind that how you respond to your child's conduct can have a huge impact on their growth and capacity to cope with their own emotions. Here are some practical ways for regulating your emotions and efficiently responding to your child's behavior:

Be Aware of Your Emotions

The first stage is to become aware of your emotions. Recognize and validate your emotions, but resist the impulse to react right away. Take a few deep breaths and consider how you want to react. Responding in anger or irritation will almost certainly aggravate the issue and add to your child's discomfort. Instead, concentrate on responding calmly and efficiently in order to influence your child's conduct.

Understand Your Children’s Emotions

It's also vital to consider your child's behavior in light of their age and temperament. Avoid describing your child's behavior as manipulative or intentionally cruel, as this can elicit angry or punitive responses. Instead, treat your child with compassion and acknowledge that their conduct is a normal aspect of their development. This increases the likelihood that you will respond calmly and successfully.

Recognize and Support Your Children

You can't make your child do anything, but you can influence how you react to their conduct. If your child learns that throwing a tantrum or acting out leads in a favorable outcome, such as additional attention or television time, they are more likely to repeat the behavior. Instead, concentrate on establishing appropriate boundaries and offering positive feedback for excellent behavior.

It is critical to affirm your child's feelings and provide options when responding to their conduct. Recognize and support your child's feelings while still setting firm boundaries. For example, if your child is sad because a playdate is coming to an end, acknowledge their feelings and give them the option of taking a break to calm down or engaging in a new activity.

Don't take the bait

Finally, if your youngster tries to elicit a reaction, don't fall for it. Kids will frequently utilize any tactic to achieve what they want, so it is critical to stay focused on the behavior you want to encourage. You may direct your child's emotional development and help them acquire coping skills by ignoring unpleasant conduct and encouraging positive behavior.

The Significance of Emotion Regulation in Children

Infants as early as four months old can discern between basic emotions, according to research, and this talent is mostly taught through their parents. Parents who are at ease with a variety of emotional states are more likely to assist their newborns in managing their emotions. Soothing words, gentle facial expressions, a gentle tone of voice, and a calm touch can help youngsters regulate their emotions and return to a state of peace.

Emotion management is critical for mental health, academic accomplishment, and social connection development. Emotional disorders and maladjustment are frequently characterized by poor emotion management skills, which have been connected to concerns such as depression, substance addiction, poor performance, and violent conduct. The ability of a child to regulate their emotions and communicate sentiments constructively rather than impulsively or hurtfully is now regarded as an important aspect in children's psychological health. Greater emotional regulation fosters deeper connections, and the ability to sit with uncomfortable feelings fosters self-confidence.

Parents must have empathy for their child, be emotionally accessible to recognize and help their child process their feelings, and provide comfort when necessary to get them back to a place where they feel safe. Parents can also serve as a "emotions coach" by paying attention to their children's fluctuating emotional states.

Parents can help their children and themselves regulate their intense emotions by identifying major causes for emotional outbursts. STOP, step back, tune into your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations, Observe and notice what is going on inside and outside of you, and proceed thoughtfully to increase self-awareness and control of powerful emotions.

Parents should also remember that it is acceptable to seek assistance, and that psychological counseling can help enhance their ability to regulate their emotions, providing them with the skills to manage those feelings so that they do not lead to inappropriate and impulsive responses.

Julissa DiStefano

I’m Julissa and I’ve had the opportunity to work with parents and children for the last 15 years. In those years I've had the honor and privilege to work with many different families and different parenting styles, child rearing techniques and familial practices.

All author posts