Monday, 16 March 2015

Big Emotions

---------- from Facebook (A poster for toddlers, from a page with parenting tips for children aged 1 to 4.)

I think this is universal, not just for children or toddlers! Even as adults, anger can be dangerous and frustration can be overwhelming. These huge emotions often lead us to destructive behaviors and we can 'take it out on' those closest to us. The poster makes me think of emotions that are often connected to other people but these steps could even work with the more solitary negative emotions like fear or sadness.

1. Remind myself that it is never okay to hurt others.
I would adjust this to say "it is never okay to hurt myself or others" to acknowledge self-harm and suicide. It also goes beyond the physical - it is never okay to say or do things, knowingly, for the sole reason of hurting someone. I call this "fighting fair," a lot of us have the power to cause pain with our words - don't do it.

2. Take 3 deep breaths or count slowly to 10.
The counting has never worked for me. When I am extremely upset, I don't even know if I can remember how to count and it definitely doesn't calm me down. I should adjust and try the breathing one.

3. Use my words to say how I feel and what I wish would happen.
So often words are used to hurt, or to blame/accuse. Using 'I' statements is always a good rule when communicating and sharing how you feel can make you reevaluate the situation.

4. Ask for help to solve the problem.
This so difficult. I just want to stew and rant, solutions are not the focus but they should be. I would be able to move past these big negative emotions quicker if I worked at fixing whatever problem caused them instead of just living them. However, there is no way I could jump to this without the first 3 steps.

5. Take time to calm down.
If I went through the first 4 steps successfully, I don't even think that I would need that long to calm down. Though I guess it depends on the situation, and how 'big' the emotions were.

Of course it is important to help children learn to cope. But we should lead by example as well. I do not have the best, most healthy, productive, or logical ways to cope with things that upset me. It is definitely something I should continue to work on to improve.


Anonymous said...

This poster needs a couple more fingers to describe strategies to help toddlers deal with big emotions... such as distract with Goldfish crackers, start tickling and of course the magical powers of Bubble Guppies.

Love T

Erin said...

I need this poster. In fact, I need more than one.

Meghan van Asseldonk said...

My toddlers struggle with big boy struggles with. I often use I statements, I had anger management difficulties as a child, my DH doesn't get I statements so it can just make it worse...