Kids are pressured, stressed, and challenged by the ever-changing landscape they navigate in today’s world. As parents, we do our best to teach them right from wrong, give them the consequences resulting from their choices, and love them through the storms they face. Parenting in itself is a full-time, overtime job. If we miss teaching our kids the emotional side of preparing for life, then we are missing a very crucial parenting puzzle piece.It’s important for us to help our children identify feelings. Not just happy, sad, or mad — but a more in-depth understanding of what they are feeling and why, and then help them label it, own it and feel it so they can deal with what they are facing. Incorporate emotional elements into conversations and role-play scenarios with them by asking “How do you think you would feel if this or that happened to you?” or “What would you feel like during, what would you feel like after… and how would you process through it?” By attaching feelings to situations and consequences, we can help strengthen what we are trying to teach them, while preparing them to emotionally deal with what comes their way.
In today’s rapid-speed, instant gratification world, our kids are more emotionally, mentally and physically at risk than ever. So it’s more important than ever to check in with them, validate what they are feeling, and provide them with tools to handle and process their feelings and choices, especially when they make mistakes. Mistakes can be used as teachable moments, but there could be a time when we react in ways that may cause more damage than the actual “mistake” they made.
So what does that mean for us as parents? It’s not easy, but it means we have to first learn how to identify and handle our own emotions so we can model healthy and productive expression of feelings. When we can do this, as well as model healthy living, we are teaching and preparing our children for the challenges and choices they will inevitably face.