How frequently do you model emotional awareness to your child? When you are angry or sad, do you tell them that you feel this way in the moment and explain why (when appropriate)? How many times have you encountered adults with low emotional awareness who cannot tell you how and why they feel a certain way, but instead act on their emotions, are dysregulated and helpless in dealing in a healthy manner with their emotions?
As a parent, you can guide your child to become more emotionally aware by modeling this to them. Let's take the example in the title of this blog:
Something happens and you feel angry. Your child notices this or you maybe feel like you want to take out your anger on your child. If you choose to model emotional awareness in this moment, you would do the following:
Name the feeling: "Mommy/ Daddy is currently feeling quite angry."
Model how you know this: "My heart is racing/ my shoulders feel tight/ my face is red. These are signs that tell me I am feeling angry."
Share the cause of your anger (if appropriate): "Somebody at work said something rude to me that hurt my feelings and now I feel angry at them."
Model how you will resolve this emotion: "I need a moment to calm down and will take a walk/ I need to take a nap to feel better/ I need to take some deep breaths and count to ten before I can talk to you"."
By following the 4 steps above, you are modeling to your child how to cope with emotions in a healthy manner. One of the great things about children is: copy- paste! What you model, they will demonstrate! Let's raise children who are able to identify their feelings and know what they can do to help themselves work through what they are feeling!
PS. Do you live in the Netherlands and need some extra support & guidance on parenting your children? Join my Online SA Expat Parent Support Group starting 29/9/2022 to join a community of parents who share their challenges & experiences.