Helping children understand their emotions

publication date: Oct 23, 2008
author/source: Dr Stephen Briers

Here are Stephen Briers' action points to work at with your children.

  • Make concious efforts to help your child expand his emotional vocabulary: Put clear, consistent labels on your own feelings. Use real-life examples, pictures and stories to identify and explain emotional reactions.
  • Help your child understand that it is possible to feel different and even contradictory feelings at the same time.
  • Teach children to accept their feelings - even the less comfortable ones.
  • Be clear that no one is accountable for what they feel, only what they do.
  • Help your child not to bury feelings that can lead to problems later.
  • Encourage your child to become aware of the feelings and needs of others.
  • Work hard to show and encourage empathy, one of the cornerstones of self-control.
  • Give your child controlled exposure to positive and negative feelings, but keep the overall tone upbeat and affirming.

This advice is taken from Superpowers for Parents: The Psychology of Great Parenting and Happy Children published by Pearson Prentice Hall and available from Amazon.