Helping children express negative emotions

Dr. John Gray describes how teaching children to deal with negative emotions can help them become happier and more resilient adults
Parenting Advice | Helping children express negative emotions
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Helping children express negative emotions

One of the most important skills for parents today is learning how to manage a child´s emotions. Children today are more conscious. The world is a more conscious place, and the more aware we are, children more self-aware, which means they are going to be more aware of their feelings, they are going to be more aware of their emotions. And therefore, there will lots of positive emotions but there will also be lots of negative emotions or what we call negative emotions. They might cry. They might get angry. They might get moody. They might have fears. And what we have to do as parents is watch out for these phrases like: Don´t cry. As opposed to, what´s the matter? Tell me about it. Or don´t be angry. Instead, just simply say I see you don´t like that. Tell me what you don´t like. Learn to give them a language for their emotions. Children often get into big emotional states because they don´t have the words to communicate it or when they have the emotions, they feel ashamed of them because parents keep telling them you shouldn´t feel that way, you should be afraid, you shouldn´t be angry, you shouldn´t cry, don´t be sad. So this is like important for children to learn that when emotions come up, they always turn into positive emotions. Negative emotions is a catharsis, a crying. When the crying comes up, then what comes in is a sense of acceptance of a boundary. Children need to learn that if I don´t get what I want, I can be upset and then I feel better even though I didn´t get what I want when I wanted it and right away. This teaches the most important skill a child can learn, which is delayed gratification. Children who are able to delay gratification have been proven in huge long-term studies to be more happy, more fulfilled, more successful in life. And part of learning that skill is when you don´t get what you want right away, sometimes you are going to throw a ferocious tantrum. Don´t suppress the child´s feelings by giving them what they want. Hear their feelings and just like in a therapy session, you get upset, you move through it, you come back to a place of acceptance and appreciation of what you have as well as greater clarity about what you want and how to get it.

Dr. John Gray describes how teaching children to deal with negative emotions can help them become happier and more resilient adults


Expert Bio

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John Gray, PhD

Best-Selling Author

John Gray is the leading relationship expert in the world. His relationship and health books have sold over 50 million copies in 50 different languages. His groundbreaking book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, is the best-selling non-fiction book of all time.

John helps men and women better understand and respect their differences in both personal and professional relationships. His approach combines specific communication techniques with healthy, nutritional choices that create the brain and body chemistry for lasting health, happiness and romance. His many books, videos, workshops and seminars provide practical insights to effectively manage stress and improve relationships at all stages of life and love.

John also travels the world teaching communities and companies the best ways to improve their relationships and communication. He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show many times as well as The Dr. Oz Show, The Today Show, CBS Morning Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show, The View, and many others. He has been profiled in Time, Forbes, USA Today and People.

John Gray lives in Northern California with his wife of 29 years, Bonnie. They have three grown daughters and four grandchildren. He is an avid follower of his own health and relationship advice.

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