Happy Parents... Happy Kids

Hello kids,

Yes I mean you! We are all kids at heart (I hope) and we all have parents.  Whether you have your own children or are planning to, we can all admit there are things we wish our parents didn't do when we were growing up. And, there are things we swear we will never do as parents but we do them anyway. Huh, what is up with that?  

Well for me, being a mom is the most rewarding thing ever and at times the most challenging.  

Understanding your own emotions is tough enough let alone your kid’s. Now that my son is 13, I feel as if there is a whole new code I need to figure out to be able to relate to him. We use to chat about everything and anything but recently, I would have to be telepathic to understand what is going on. I miss those days of non-stop talking, but also realize it is an important part of the growth process, mostly for me.

Soooo, I searched high and low to get different perspectives on how to relate to your kids and understand their emotions. I found some good stuff that I want to share with you and I hope will make your life a bit easier. I know it definitely helped me.

Hey did you know?

“They are dealing with a huge amount of social, emotional and cognitive flux and have underdeveloped abilities to cope. They need their parents — those people with the more stable adult brain — to help them by staying calm, listening and being good role models, Feinstein told LiveScience.” http://www.livescience.com/13850-10-facts-parent-teen-brain.html

But how do you know when to step in as a parent with your child’s emotions? Well, it is all about listening to how they truly feel, and loving them for who they are.

Here comes some great advice from Ronit Baras, an international parenting and happiness coach from Brisbane, Australia. You can check out all the amazing advice she has on her blog: https://www.ronitbaras.com/.

"Managing feeling is the heart of emotional intelligence. There are four levels of emotional intelligence: recognising feelings, managing feelings, recognising other's feelings and helping and supporting others with their feelings and we must do it in order. We can't manage feelings if we don't recognise them first. We are not born with those skills and need our socialising agents, parents and teachers, to guide us through them. The best strategy is to use mindfulness. In mindfulness, we become aware of the feeling and examine it. Much like in meditation, we acknowledge the thought and do not fight it.  Whenever we feel overwhelmed, we stop and ask two questions: What is the feeling I am having now?  And how do I rate it from 1-10? (1 -mild, 10 - strong). The second we rate it, the subconscious mind turns on a mechanisms to address the feeling. Most of the time, just answering those two questions will sort out the difficulty. If you are a parent or an educator, make sure to ask the questions on positive feelings as well. We need to manage them well too."

Next up is my good friend Dr. Peggy Kern, PhD. She is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Positive Psychology at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. Check out all that she is up to at http://www.peggykern.org/

“Emotions are a part of everyday life – both positive and negative ones. Although we certainly would like our young people to feel happy, many young people face numerous challenges, including stress from classes, trying to establish their identity and fit in with others, and even more extreme challenges. The key is to learn to recognize the emotions and learning how to regulate and express them in appropriate ways. Many young people have trouble recognizing and understanding their emotions. Allow your child to express what they feel, labeling what emotions they feel and identifying what might be causing those emotions. It can be helpful to consider how they respond to different emotions, and what some alternatives might be. Emotions are part of what make us human, and only by accepting them and learning to use them for our benefit can we truly learn to thrive as human beings.”

That is some great advice, but now what you have all been waiting for. How to help your kids deal with their emotions:

  1. Lead by Example. They are going to look at you to see how to handle situations. Make sure you are taking deep breaths when you need to, and trying your best to show them how to spin situations in a more positive way.

  2. Talk it out without judgement. When your child comes to you, listen to them with open ears and eyes. Notice exactly why they are feeling that way. Help them explain themselves if necessary, and most importantly, do not judge them. Their feelings are true to them, and you can show them that is ok.

  3. Show them that you have time for them. When they look like they need to talk, make sure they know that you are always there for them. Even if you just want to get the kitchen clean and out of the way, take a break and sit down with them. It will always be worth it.

  4. Use positive reinforcement instead of punishing them. They might not understand what they did wrong if they come home and are sent to their room. Take time to talk, to understand, and to reward them in a big way when they make progress. That will lead to a better and more open relationship.

  5. It is all about trust. Do everything you can to trust them, understand them, and not judge them, and they will trust you. That is the safest place to be.

By the way, you know the old saying… “Happy wife… Happy Life”, well that maybe true but I definitely believe… “Happy Parents….Happy Kids”.  They pick up on everything, so don’t forget to take care of yourself.

Have fun.

Sandy Weston