When Emotions Become Beach Balls: Ways for Adults to Intervene: Part 2
Methods of how adults can approach contagious emotions in our homes, offices, and schools without losing (too much) of our sanity
It feels like when our kids are THIS young, it is simple. Feed them, change them, then they are happy and at bliss.
But then, fast forward 9 years or so, and it gets much more complicated. Their emotions go from 0-100, and the fix isn't as simple as a bottle or diaper change.
As they get older, we as parents find ourselves scratching our heads.
For some reason, your 8 year-old girl just can't stop crying about the small things. Your 13-year-old boy can't manage his anger. Your 16-year-old girl can't seem to turn off her worries, and always thinks of the worst case scenario.
It is so hard to watch our kids go through these moments. Maybe everything within you wants to jump up and rescue them from these moments. Or, maybe everything within you can't help but be bouncing up with them in their emotions; it can be so difficult to keep our cool sometimes.
This is why I love what I do. I've helped many families begin taking steps towards slowing down the emotion contagion, and equipped adults with key skills to feel more confident in these moments.
If you'd like a simple set of skills to begin feeling more confident as an adult in the room with 'big emotions,' then start with this first blog of this series; you don't want to miss this one --Side Note-- If you follow me on social media, these skills will likely look familiar :)
Tip #2 - Before asking your child to calm down, model for them what calm looks like.
I won't lie, every time I hear this concept or am reminded about the importance of 'modeling as a parent,' I cringe.
I know. We all know. We are supposed to model good behaviors for our kids for them to do it themselves.
You've probably heard this multiple times. I've had many people reflect with me about how for them, this reminder about modeling for their kids actually produces guilt.
I don't know where your mind goes when things get bad at home. But what I do know is if we are going to model having emotional balance, we as parents need to be more aware of where our emotions and thoughts go in these moments.
Imagine this with me: You are walking through a dense forest, and you're not sure which way to get out. Luckily, you happen to have a compass with you to use.
You begin to use it, you're looking at the compass, but then you trip over a rock, and drop the compass.
Great! The one thing that could have helped me out of here, is now broken. And yet, you see the needle on the compass moving as you change directions...maybe it still works?
At this point you are unsure if you can trust what your compass is telling you. Would you trust the compass, or would you not risk it?
Here's the point: If we let them, our emotions can serve as a guide or a compass.
This is a huge part of what happens in my therapy office; I'm helping people better utilize their emotions as guides.
But here's the issue: Many of us, like in the story above, get into trouble with our emotions. We fall down, we blow up on someone, or we were taken advantage of when we were vulnerable.
Of course it is hard to trust our emotions as a compass. This makes complete sense.
"Emotion has a deep logic to it, and we can learn to use it as a compass to guide our steps as we move with others through life. " – Dr. Sue Johnson, founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy
Again, many of us have been 'trained' all of our lives to tone down our emotions, and be guided by logic.
I love logic! But if I am not tuning into this big part of me that could be used to guide and inform my 'logic,' then how logical am I truly being?
Okay, great. Now what can I do next?
Many of us need a coach to know how to deal with these tricky emotions. We've been trained for a long time to not trust that compass.
If you'd like to connect with me directly about getting a handle on these 'big emotions' of the children/teens you work with, I'd love to connect. Feel free to schedule an appointment with me here.
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Looking forward to connecting with you soon!