Allowing our Children to Feel

I have been thinking a lot about all the children at home who are desperately wishing their lives would go back to normal. 

Children who are feeling these intense emotions of anger, sadness, frustration. And they are acting it out. They are crying, screaming, fighting. They say “no” and talk back and do the opposite of what they are asked. 

I have also been thinking a lot about all the parents at home who are desperately wishing their lives would go back to normal. 

Parents who can’t believe their children are acting this way. Parents who are also frustrated, angry and fed up. They can’t handle any more tears, or sadness, or acting out. They just want their happy child back, and want them back... now. 

I see you. I understand you. I get you.

And then I have been thinking about how we as a society have been taught to actually make these negative emotions and experiences worse. 

We have been taught to hide the ‘bad’ and only show the good, to quit crying and be happy, to stop worrying and instead think positively and be confident.  And when we pass these ideas onto our children and we get upset at them or try to control and change their experience of being upset…

we are teaching them that negative emotions are bad. 

We are teaching them to resist, ignore and get rid of their feelings. 

And when we do this - those feelings aren’t expressed. 

They can’t escape. And they don’t go away. 

They get ignored, and in turn, get worse.

You see, things happen in the world. We have thoughts about those things, which create our feelings and then it is our feelings that drive our actions. 

Our children are crying, screaming and arguing because of how they are feeling.

Our children are laughing and smiling and playing because of how they are feeling. 

And they are feeling these feelings because of what they are thinking. 

Our children need to know THIS and need to unlearn that there are right and wrong feelings. They need to learn that feelings just are and when they are experiencing an emotion, everything is okay. They are not broken. They are not bad. They are not wrong. 

Instead, they need to know that they are normal. They are human. They are loved. They are safe. They are okay.

They need to know that nothing has gone wrong.  

What do you think would be different if we were to be curious and compassionate with our children and their feelings?

What do you think would be different if we allowed our children (and ourselves) to experience and even act out our emotions without trying to change them or control them?

Take a chance this week. 

Notice your child freak out when you:

- turn off the tv

- tell them they still can’t see their friends

- remind them of their Zoom call this afternoon 

Remind yourself, they are acting this way because of how they are feeling. And their feelings are coming from their thinking. 

Watch them. Witness them. Love them. Be there for them. And don’t try to change or control or make the emotion wrong. 

Just let it be. 

See what happens. 

My guess is, the emotion will be felt, processed and allowed.

My guess is, your child will come out the other side feeling relieved, supported, loved and accepted. 

My guess is, your child will be onto the next thing and you can be left knowing that you just gave your child the greatest gift you could ever give them. 

xo

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