Feelings and emotions can be overwhelming! Sometimes we try to avoid them - especially if we find them uncomfortable or frightening. Sometimes we try to ignore them - especially if we don't know what to DO with them. Sometimes we try to deny them - especially if we were taught they were "bad." But at ALL times we need to be AWARE of them! Even when they're hard.
Here’s a quick “Mom Minute” about Emotions:
This short article is going to give you THREE THINGS to know so that you can have more understanding of and be better able to handle the many feelings and emotions you - and your child - experience!
#1 Stop, Breathe, Pray
Remember, you can only give what you have. When parenting your children, YOU need to lead the way! If you want your children to be able to calm themselves when they feel angry, have self-discipline, speak in a controlled voice, take turns when talking, and so on, you are going to need to model that behavior. That's what they mean when they say: "More is caught than taught." Children need to REGULARLY SEE behavior modeled and practiced as well as being explicitly taught what to do in certain situations.
I encourage you to STOP right now, put your hand on your belly so you can feel it rise as you breathe in and lower as you BREATHE out and take some intentional breaths. And then, PRAY. This can be as simple as, "Father God, thank You!" or "Help me see...this child like You do." For more in-depth information about this practice in a free mini-training video that’s just 8 minutes long, click here!
#2. Recognize that all feelings are just a PART of you!
Words are powerful. I encourage you to notice how you describe your own feelings. Do you think or say: “I AM angry”? or "I FEEL angry?" If you mostly use the former way, it can be hard to differentiate between "who" you are and "how" you are feeling! But, if you use the latter way, you can more easily recognize that feelings are just a PART of you and not who you are.
How about you and your child take time daily to “check in” and notice how you are feeling? For young children, providing simple pictures you can give them choices of feelings - like this one I made using emojis! Simply ask (your child and yourself), "How do you feel right now?"
Be aware: You don't need to assign a "reason" to why you feel a certain way. Adults tend to think, "Well, I feel upset right now but I don't know why because there's really no REASON for me to feel upset, I mean I SHOULD be happy because....blah, blah, blah!" Just NOTICE your feelings and help your child notice his, too! This may sound like, "Johnnie, I see your eyebrows are scrunched together like this and your fingers are balled into a fist like this. You seem like you may be feeling angry right now." Try it for a couple days and let me know if you notice a difference!
A book that is really helping me with identifying my feelings is, Boundaries for Your Soul: How to Turn Your Overwhelming Thoughts and Feelings into Your Greatest Allies. You may like it, too!
#3 Anger is usually a "secondary" emotion.
It’s important to know this because so often we label our own or our kid's emotions as "ANGER" but really it started as something else.
So, here's a little peak into my personal life: Yesterday, one of my sons wanted to cook eggs for lunch. Well, like me, they don’t have the joy of cooking like their dad and just want their food done quickly so they can eat it. My husband always says "the best way to cook eggs is low and slow” but my boys and I don't have time for that! So, my son is cooking his eggs on the highest heat possible and the oil and eggs are making these loud popping noises and it’s starting to smell really bad and I scream, “Turn down the flame!” As the smoke alarm starts going off, I yell to my other son to open the windows and make sure the alarm company isn't calling to see if they need to send the fire department, and start frantically waving my sweater under the smoke detector. Then, I say to my son who is doing the cooking, "Never, never, never, never, never, never, never cook ANYTHING on high heat!" Really? Did I need so many "Never"s? Insert face into hand here.…
Well, after this all settles down, I go on a walk and remember that anger is a secondary emotion. So I ask myself, "I wonder why I felt so angry about the smoke alarm going off?" And what I found was that I actually felt SHAME (because I thought if I was a "better mom" my kids would know how to cook) and GUILT (because I thought I should have been teaching them this skill - which is actually FALSE GUILT that we'll talk about more soon) and FEAR (because I was worried if I hadn't been there would he have caused a fire?!). All those feelings coalesced into displaying themselves as "ANGER"!
Of course, I went back and apologized to my boys. And, of course, they offered me forgiveness...and then we laughed about how I forgot to SBP before reacting. I'll tell you what, I am one blessed Mama to be raising these young men!
If you have practiced any of these strategies by yourself or with your kids, sign in to leave a comment and let me know!
#ConnectPointMoms helps you create stronger relational connections with the children in your life. This starts with being aware of your own stuff so you can BE PRESENT with your children in the moment you're in, and then knowing and using the best ways to communicate with them!