How to Develop Emotional Agility in Your Kids
Children are very sensitive to the slightest changes happening in the world around them. They are absolutely sincere in their emotions. When they lack parental attention, they cry. When they are immersed into the game, they laugh so hard that their laughter could break the ice. Are kids capable of controlling their emotions? Not really. Emotional agility is not an innate trait. Luckily, emotional regulation skills can be developed throughout life.
Psychologists agree that developing emotional intelligence is of great importance to lifetime success. That’s why adults are supposed to teach kids how to control and navigate their emotions. This is a key to a happy life.
It is quite difficult for children to understand their feelings themselves. Teachers need to explain to them how to recognize emotions and manage them. As practice shows, this will help kids become good problem-solvers in the future. They would be able to act rationally and make more deliberate decisions. Parents, on their part, should talk to kids about emotional intelligence at home.
Of course, the list of emotions for kids is versatile. It is joy, euphoria, amusement, anxiety, sadness, fear, and many others. When children know how to recognize and cope with their emotions, they are less likely to suffer from depression; their psyche is stable.
Child Emotional Development and Helicopter Parenting
Parents want their kids to be happy. It is a natural thing. They do their best to protect their offsprings from all cruel things the outside world could bring. Accordingly, they want them to escape any negative feelings. All parents painfully react when their child is sad or devastated. They try to uplift their spirits in any possible way. “Do you want this toy? I’ll buy it to you right now. Just stop crying.” Sure, parents are guided by good intentions. But what do we have in reality? Children grow vulnerable. They feel insecure in the face of all odds.
Psychologists believe that overprotecting can do more harm than good. Helicopter parents build a wall, trying to keep their children away from negative emotions. As a result, kids cannot fully develop. Their emotional resilience is weak. They don’t understand their own feelings. When faced some difficulties, children with low emotional agility would seek advice from their parents. They will avoid the responsibility of making decisions themselves.
Everyone should experience a full range of emotions. Sadness, fear, shame… There is nothing wrong with that. Negative emotions don’t last long. Children are supposed to go through them and learn how to deal with them. This will make them stronger.
How to Cope with Negative Emotions
You might have noticed that your child feels suppressed for some reason. What should you do in this case? Give them a hand and tell about the nature of different emotions. Have no idea where to start? The psychologist Susan David offers 4 steps to help you teach your kid of emotional intelligence.
- Feel it
Some parents say, “Do not be sad. Cheer up!” Easier said than done, right? Our life is like a zebra with white and black stripes. It is full of both positive and negative feelings. Embrace this fact and give your child the right to experience negative emotions, too.
- Show it
It is believed that some emotions should be hidden. For example, boys don’t cry. But wait. We are humans, not robots. Our feelings make us honest with ourselves. What is more, expressing emotions is crucial for being healthy. If the child holds feelings deep inside their soul, they will be deeply unhappy. The best way to cope with negative emotions is to let them out.
- Label it
The ability to recognize emotions is extremely important for developing emotional agility. Teach your children to understand what is fear, panic, resentment, etc. Of course, it is not easy to do. Some emotions are too complex for kids to comprehend. They may include different emotions: love and anger, pain and delight. Give your children at least general idea of various feelings. It will greatly help them develop emotional intelligence in the future.
- Let it go
Nothing lasts forever. Negative emotions are no exception. Usually, they are like a flash of light that quickly lights up and quickly goes out. The child’s frustration will pass. Make no doubt. It is quite interesting that the same experience can bring different emotions. When you ride a bike for the first time, you are scared. When you cycle confidently, you feel utter joy. Try to explain this paradox to the child.
Pay particular attention to developing emotional agility in your kids. Talk to them. Ask them what they feel. Don’t leave them alone with their fears and worries. But bear in mind that overprotection can be detrimental to the child emotional development.