Advice for parents on how to teach your child language for their feelings

Percy L. Abram, PhD offers suggestions on how parents can give children language to express their emotions
Parenting Advice | Teaching children language to express their feelings
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Advice for parents on how to teach your child language for their feelings

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The language that we use, especially at the younger grade, is language about emotions. And the way we introduce is it through pictures. So at a very early age, our 5 and 6 year olds in class are looking at pictures of what it looks like to be sad, what it looks like to be frustrated, what it looks like to be humiliated, what it looks like to be angry and upset, and what it looks like to be sort of complacent. So they have images on their walls so that they now can put a language around the emotions that they're feeling. It is my impression in working with students on a daily basis that sometimes if you ask them how they feel, they have a very limited vocabulary to describe it. So as part of the work that we do in our school, we give them examples, so that they can name that. In the older grades, after having 3-4 years of training, we work with students and ask them directly. How do you feel about this incident? And we give them the opportunity to expand upon it. One of the great things we are offering students now are conflict resolutions one-to-one. And we have both students trained to say, this made me feel X when you did something. And it gives a real sense of power in those words, and a real understanding of how one's individual actions affects others.

Percy L. Abram, PhD offers suggestions on how parents can give children language to express their emotions

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Percy L. Abram, PhD

Head of School

Percy Abram is the Head of Gateway School.  Gateway School is a Kindergarten – 8th grade independent school in Santa Cruz, CA.  Prior to joining Gateway School, Dr. Abram was the Upper Division Director at Brentwood School in Los Angeles.  An LA native, Dr. Abram received his B.A. (Economics) and M.A. (Education) degrees from UCLA, and his M.A. (Sociology) and Ph.D. (Education) from Stanford University.  Dr. Abram and his wife are the parents of a 10-year old daughter and 7-year old son, and despite running a school and being responsible for 260 students each day, he still finds parenting his most challenging job.

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