Feelings guide behaviorAlthough it may seem silly to truly commiserate with a child's intense grief about the form of bread, expressing empathy and compassion while acknowledging their sentiments helps children learn how to manage strong emotions. What we truly want to do, according to Justin, is recognize that if we can make people feel better, they will act better. "Your first reaction might be, "Well, the last thing I want is for my kids to feel okay when they're not doing okay, because they need to learn their lesson." But all we end up doing is making them feel more anxious, and the more anxious someone is, the more probable it is that they would act foolishly. While it could appear that kids are rewarded for acting out, according to Justin's research, the opposite is actually true. Children learn to better control their emotions when we do this for them, he claims. "They improve their ability to properly control their behavior. "As kids get older, they are better with friends, they are better in social situations, and they are better in school because they are much more able to exercise self control."
Even adults require compassionWhen youngsters are having a bad day, Justin argues we should take this into account before being harsher on adults. "It would be nice to have someone at home remark, "It seems like you've had a fairly tough day," and show empathy if you've had a bad day at work and a speeding ticket on the way home. "Suppose your spouse asked you: "You got a fine? What were you contemplating? Will you turn to them and respond, "Good point, I really need to focus on that"? It's not a constructive reaction,
Three-step emotional coaching processWhen you believe your child needs emotional support, take these actions:
- Recognize the signs of a strong emotional response in your child.
- Identify the feeling, but avoid attempting to solve the issue. The second step is more difficult. (Justin explains, "We've got to keep things calm when we approach our child so that we can actually name the emotion. All we do is express what we see: "You're feeling really unhappy, or you're having a rough, tough time.
- After giving them some time to collect themselves and discover a solution, assist them in doing so.