welcome to children 101

Emotions & Feelings

about children 101
mental health issues facing children
Mental Health: in the womb & the first year of life....
Mental Health: Two, Three & Four for more!
Mental Health: The Elementary School Child
Mental Health: The Chaos Begins - Almost Teens...
Emotions & Feelings
Just Love 'Em - What Children Need
Children & Fear
children & anger
Children & Control
Power Struggles
learning to communicate...it's a 2 way street!
Setting Limits & Boundaries
self esteem
Dealing with a bully
Character & Values
Social Skills
Children & Friendships
Children Need Extended Family Relationships
Lifestyle Factors
Children & Responsibilities
About School & Education
Sex Education
Spirituality & Children
Gifted Children
Children with Special Needs
Children with Special Problems
children with special gifts
Children & Stress
Child Abuse & Neglect
Dysfunctional Family Life
Children & Divorce
Parenting Tips
An Adoption in the Family
Single Parenting
Same Sex Parenting
Step Families
Foster Families
No Kids? Be A Mentor!
When Kids Self Medicate
When A Parent Dies
When A Sibling Dies
Children & Trauma
coping mechanisms for kids
teaching life skills

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Helping Kids Master Their Emotions - By Robin Schafer

Stress is a word all too familiar to children in schools these days. Every year, students are required to take standardized tests, which takes so much preparation time, many parents are finding the need to enroll their children in extra tutorial programs after school just to keep up in the classroom. Add that to massive amounts of homework combined with too many extracurricular activities and kids are bound to feel the pressure.

This is leading to an increase in problems with anxiety including attention deficit disorder. There is such a high rate of teen depression that there aren’t enough psychologists to handle the caseloads.

Meanwhile, teachers are finding students are much more fidgety and unable to sit still in class. There isn’t enough exercise outside the classroom because there’s simply not enough time.

There are 5 techniques which help reduce anxiety, all of which I’ve seen work firsthand:

MEDITATION: slowing down and finding calm and peace for moments at a time makes a big difference.

DEEP BREATHING - even if it’s for a short, quick, deep breath, it relaxes the body and mind almost immediately.

VISUALIZATION: this is more of a long-term stress reducer. Let’s say your son plays goalie in soccer. This is a tough position, which can create a lot of anxiety for a kid because if a ball slips by, a child may put the entire outcome of the game on his shoulders.

But, taking about 5 minutes a day twice a day to just close his eyes and visualize himself doing well could make all the difference. Over a period of time, not only may he actually do much better, but he’ll be much less stressed about it when the other team scores.

WRITING IN A JOURNAL: this helps because words on the page become a visual reminder of progress.

EXERCISE: this allows children to work out their stress and frustration physically.

In the past, people always put so much credence on academic intelligence, when in fact it’s been proven time and again that emotional intelligence is truly the key to a happier and optimistic individual. Learning how to handle stress and pressure through positive outlets at an early age creates fewer problems in college and fewer cases of teen depression.

With such a strong focus on academics, children are being tested more and at earlier ages.

Such an emphasis has been placed on these tests, in fact, that towns receive funding based on how well their schools perform. If the schools don’t do well, it’s publicized, it hurts property values and fewer people will move there. This, in turn, is creating even more pressure on our kids to perform.

As the mother of 3 children between the ages of 11 and 21, I’ve seen the stress firsthand and I know all about the pressures that come with adolescence.

I wanted youngsters to have a place to turn, so my husband, Randy and I launched a web-based subscription program that teaches children between the ages of 8 thru 13 strategies for coping with that stress while gaining self-confidence.

Masterful Kids is a secure, members-only website that helps youngsters understand, communicate and control their emotions with the help of their peers and parents, in a positive manner.

Through the site, children are offered programs based on the following:

The programs contain 5 sub-sections including an introduction, video, daily journal, kids, opinion page, parents’ forum, bibliography section and a blog. Each culminates with a monthly conclusion where kids can reflect upon their progress.

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Emotional Intelligence & Your Toddler - By Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach

I was in the grocery, knew I was approaching the toy aisle & braced myself. Adam was sitting happily in the grocery cart, but I knew what was coming: a tantrum!

I knew he was tired & hungry – this was an emergency run to the grocery. I knew I was tired & hungry, too. Adam & I weren't at our coping best. The last thing I wanted was a meltdown.


  • Use my grandmother / coaching skills when the tantrum started?

  • Talk to him about what he was feeling?

  • Use it as a lesson in emotional intelligence – frustration tolerance & self-management?

I did what any sane grandmother would do:

  • I avoided the aisle completely.

  • I got out of the store as fast as I could.

  • As soon as I’d paid for them, I gave him a Capri drink & a little box of raisins & gave myself some too!

  • I kept calm & talked in a soothing voice. It was 6 p.m. & he was a little time bomb waiting to go off. Nor was I at my best.


Tantrums are an inconvenient part of life with toddlers & the best defense is a good offense. Avoid the circumstances that provoke them.

Management depends upon your emotional intelligence because a toddler doesn’t have any!

They’re still pretty “basic”

  • they lack the vocabulary to express themselves in words

  • they lack the ability to cope with delayed gratification

  • then have zero self-awareness

You’ll be teaching all these things, but developmentally, they aren’t capable yet. It’s up to you to avoid provocative situations as best you can, especially when your toddler is already tired, hungry or stressed.


Toddlers are also still fairly easy to distract & sometimes that’s the best course of action. They’re just learning “object permanence.”

In other words, if they’re screaming for something (a candy bar they see) & you can remove it, it can be a case of “out of sight, out of mind.”

Like if he’s in his high chair, whisk the candy bar away, grab a utensil & start tapping out the rhythm of one of his favorite songs, sing & make faces. Sometimes it works!

My friend, Becky, sings a special soothing song at such times. It’s become conditioned with her daughter. She starts to calm down.


Every parents least favorite happening. What to do?

  • Remember, you’re not a bad parent. Toddles R tantrums.

  • “Reasoning” with them won’t do much good & will waste your energy. 

  • You don’t need to get angry yourself, or punitive. This won’t stop the tantrum, but it will doubly stress you. It can, in fact, make the tantrum worse. 

  • Don’t ‘catch the infection’ - Your child feels out-of-control when she’s angry & looks to you NOT to be.

  • Leave the situation if you can. Give up & go home, or at least leave the immediate scene – i.e., if they’re screaming in the movie theater, take them out to the lobby.

“A change of scene” sometimes works. Also it’s courteous to those around you. I found leaving a store & going outside was sometimes calming & we could return. 

  • When the worst of the meltdown is over, be reassuring, because to get that angry is scary for the child. 

  • Cushion the blow in some way, but stick to the rules. i.e., if the tantrum was over leaving the birthday party, you still must leave, yes, but tell her you know how sad / angry she is to have to leave, “So let’s watch ‘Favorite Video’ when we get home.”

You may feel like you’re “giving up” or “giving in” when you avoid situations that stress your toddler, but that’s an emotionally intelligent thing to do.


We’re humans, we want things, we have emotions. When you’re on a diet, do you go to Baskin-Robbins & sit at a table & watch other people eat ice cream?

If you’re married, would you subject yourself to a private outing with an attractive member of the opposite sex?

If you’re broke, would you go window-shopping at the most expensive clothes-store in town? No, no & no. It would be torture. We don’t subject ourselves to temptations that frustrate us when we can help it.

You can anticipate what will frustrate your toddler & act accordingly. There’s nothing wrong with getting a sitter & going to the toy store by yourself. In fact it’s emotionally intelligent!

Wise parents & grandparents “toddler-proof” the house to keep down frustrations. You’ll still have to manage

  • not playing in the toilet
  • not eating the dog food
  • not pulling the cat’s tail
  • not punching little sister

… so why not remove the crystal dish on the coffee table & the glass floral arrangement in the bedroom for a couple of months & give yourself a break.

P.S. The Terrible Twos really don’t last forever.

Recommended reading: “First Feelings: Milestones in the Emotional Development of Your Baby and Child,” by I. Stanley Greenspan, M.D. and Nancy Greenspan:

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Olivia is 5 & Learning Emotional Intelligence - By Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach

Olivia & I returned from going to the rodeo & we’d been talking about going swimming. “That would be fun,” I said. “We’re hot & sticky. Let’s ask your Dad if you can.”

When we got to the house, Olivia ran ahead of me. While I was talking to her Dad, she came running out in her swimsuit. “We’re going swimming!” she said, bouncing up and down, “We’re going swimming!”

You can imagine what transpired. She’d been told she couldn’t go swimming & had done an end-run around Nana. She had to go to her room & take off her swim suit & she was inconsolable.

I helped her get dressed, while she sobbed. I commiserated with her sadness & anger, supported her father’s decision & agreed with her it was sad, sad. I’d been looking forward to it myself & it isn’t always easy for me to accept my son as a higher-authority than me!

I didn’t like his reason why she couldn’t go, so was dealing with my own stuff, looking for a distraction.

Finally she quieted, brightened up & said, “Let’s do what an optimist would do!” We’d been working on that – optimism is an emotional intelligence competency.

“What would an optimist do?” I asked.

Think about something happy,” she replied. “Find something else to do.” She remembers things, that’s for sure.

What else could we do that would be fun?” I asked her.

“I want to play with Donnie,” she said. He’s the little boy next door. And off she ran.

I decided to freshen up with the shower & then settle in with a good book.

Learningoptimism” can’t start too young! When we have a disappointment, we don’t dwell, we find something else to do that’s fun & your child can learn this too.

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Teaching Emotional Intelligence to Your Kindergartner - By Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach

Casey’s 5 years old & reminds me of Edith-Ann. She sometimes even stomps her foot & tosses her head. And that’s the truth!

Casey’s what you’d call “high-maintenance.” She likes things to be just so, reacts strongly to what’s going on & tends to get wound-up. We’ve been working on emotional intelligence.

The other day I took her to the Kiddie Park & then to McDonald’s for supper. It had been a fun afternoon, but once we got to McDonald’s, her fatigue caught up with her.

She loves to play with other children & calls them all “my friends.” At McDonald’s she faced one of childhood’s hardest tasks – breaking into a group that had already formed.

There were 4 girls there her age who didn’t want her to join their playgroup. Casey’s very bright & tried several different things – just joining in (they chased her off), telling them to “be nice,” (they ignored her) & then asking them to please, please let her play with them.

Nothing worked, which sometimes happens to the best of us.

To make a long story short, it didn’t end well. Casey decompensated, then spilled her drink, then dropped her ice cream cone, at which point the others made fun of her.

I helped her thru that incident & the suggested she was tired, we could find other friends & that it was time to go. This made her furious. “I’m not tired,” she screamed.

Finally I had to carry her out to the car, a ball of tears. You can imagine how she felt, as nothing had gone right. I thought about distracting her, like talking about what we’d do tomorrow. Then I remembered how I felt when someone didn’t let me talk thru my feelings.

Like when your partner says, “I think you’re overreacting.”

Go toward the sound of the cannon.

Casey,” I said. “How are you feeling right now?’” The volume of the crying immediately increased. This is exactly why we tend to avoid dealing with emotions.

It’s more comfortable for us to avoid the issue of someone else’s pain, anger, etc.

Are you angry because we had to leave?” I continued.

Suddenly there was silence. “Yes,” she said, after a minute. “I was angry.” She felt respected & also, I think, she had become curious.

This moved her away from the reptilian brain & into the neocortex. She was now thinking instead of reacting.

Are you remembering to breathe deeply?” I asked, helping her self-soothe. “Yes,” she said.

And were you ashamed you dropped your cone?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied. “And I wasn’t tired,” she repeated, adamantly. This was a very important point to her because my saying she was tired to her meant I wasn’t addressing her distress.

We went on to discuss other feelings she was having – frustration with the other girls, sadness they wouldn’t include her, disappointment that I hadn’t been of much help.

Then, because she really was very tired, she started into a downward spiral – “And remember that girl who was mean to me at the ice skating rink…” she began, getting into an incident that had happened the day before.

“What would an optimist do right now?” I asked her, gently. It was time to move the focus away from emotions.

“Oh,” she said, stopping & thinking for a moment. “An optimist would remember something good that happened. Like when I got to ride on the ferris wheel.”

SORTING OUT emotions

Adults have trouble figuring out the layers of emotions that occur. For a young child it’s extremely difficult. When we help the child sort out the different feelings which often get expressed in tears, it helps them manage their emotions better.

To be able to put something in words is empowering.

Her little brother, Ted, who’s 2, has just learned how to say “don’t like peas”. I was there when the “light went off in his head”. When the peas were placed in front of him, he started to cry & push the plate off the highchair tray & then he stopped & said, “Don’t like peas” & the look on his face said it all.

He'd learned a new way to manipulate his environment & get what he wanted – words!

To tell Casey she was tired, negated all the other things she was feeling & wasn’t helpful. We know that fatigue exacerbates negative emotions, but those emotions are still real & need to be acknowledged.

“I felt bad,” she finally said & sometimes that sums it up, but working thru the layers helps children learn words of emotional expressions & helps them replace acting out with talking.

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Help Your Child Process His Emotions & Behavior to Get the The Best Use of Time Out
Lynne Namka, Ed. D 2002

Too often a child is punished by being sent to Time Out with angry yelling, 'Go to your room!'
The parents are mad and the child is mad and no one learns anything. The child then sulks and feels resentful instead of learning how he could act better next time.
Positive discussion after Time Out empowers the child into feeling good about taking responsibility for his own behavior rather than hold a grudge.
Talking after leaving Time Out helps work things out between you and your child. It can also help bring his strong feelings down if you put a positive spin on it. Time outs can be used for teaching your child to be more in control of his behavior.
Help your child understand his behavior and angry feelings and learn better ways of acting in the future. This exercise is an adaptation of Time Out procedure we used in our school for children with severe emotional and behavior problems where I worked for 7 years.

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These questions give your child a framework for learning from the experience & teach the message that mistakes are made for learning. If your child is unwilling to go thru these simple steps, send him back to Time Out.
Cheerfully give him the message that he needs more time to think about what happened to get him in trouble.
What behavior caused you to go to time-out?
Clarify any vague answer given by the child. You had to go to time out because you hit your brother.' Now tell me why did you have to go to time out?
Tell me about the uncomfortable feelings you were caught in.
The research shows that families who encourage children to talk about & then problem solved created a sense of mastery in children which carried over to good self esteem & doing well in school.
Was what you did a very good thing to do? Why not?
Help the child to make a judgment & process his feelings by giving him rationale & rules about what's expected of him. Then ask him to repeat the judgment back to you.
What could you do next time when you're upset?
Help your child problem solve & come up with several alternatives he could choose from instead of the acting out behavior.

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What Helper Words can you use to keep your cool the next time?
Coach your child to say,'I cool myself off. I breathe and make good choices. I keep my cool. Etc.
See my Angries Out web site (www.AngriesOut.com) for other Helper Words listed under 'I Stop My Bully Behavior.'
How will you feel if you make a better choice the next time?'Good. Great. Fantastic. Better about myself. Proud for using my head. Etc'.
After your child processes his emotions and owns his misbehavior, really lay it on thick about how proud you are of him. Brag about how he can look at his part in a problem and come up with a better solution for next time.
Use affirmation cues to reinforce his growing and learning:
  • You can feel good about the problem solving and figure out how to do things differently next time.
Whatever from of correction method you chose, remember to leave your child feeling good about himself.
Children are subject to the self-fulfilling prophecy, which says they become as others view them. Remember the old saying,
'What you think of me, I'll think of me. What I think of me, I'll become.'

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4 Ways to Understand the Emotional Development of a Child

by Christa Gatewood

1. Infants: Building Trust

From birth to about 18 months, the primary focus for emotional development of a child is building trust. This is accomplished inherently as you attend to your child's needs. Your infant learns he will be comforted when he cries, fed when he's hungry and that his needs will generally be met. Over the first year of his life, he will start to express basic emotions and form an emotional attachment to you and other caregivers. That attachment is often expressed as "stranger anxiety" and comes from having learned first to trust you.

2. Toddlers: Becoming Independent

Between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old, children develop emotional independence. They start to see themselves as separate from their parents and begin to test their limits. This stage is often characterized as the "terrible twos" because aggressive behaviors emerge. You can help your toddler learn what is acceptable by establishing consistent boundaries and helping your child give words to her emotions. During this time, your child will also start to interact with others when playing, which will form the foundation of cooperation. You can encourage this with interactive songs, nursery rhymes and other games.

3. Preschoolers: Learning Initiative

From around the ages of 3 to 5 years old, initiative becomes the focus of emotional development. Your preschooler will suddenly understand the concept of feelings and become aware of feelings in other people. This is when you can teach empathy by asking questions like, "How do you think he feels?" Understanding other people's feelings helps these children to form friendships and learn to cooperate. Imagination comes into play during this stage. Your child might start to embrace fantasy or have an imaginary friend. You can nurture your child's imagination by encouraging role playing or dress-up.

4. Grade Schoolers: Keeping Secrets and Making Rules

Around the time when your child goes to grade school, she will begin to learn how to keep secrets. As she gets older, she will start to see herself in comparison to her peers and make judgments about how she stacks up. Don't be surprised if your child starts to become cliquish or exclusionary with friends, as this is a time when children like to form clubs and make rules to govern them. During this period, kids will also begin to be affected by peer pressure.

Christa Gatewood studied psychology and communications at Northwestern University, sparking a life-long fascination with mental health, personal relationships and family dynamics. Well-versed in conventional and alternative approaches to reproductive health and pediatric medicine, Gatewood has covered health topics for eHow.com.

source site: click here

starting out at the beginning....


The Naked Truth About Emotional Intelligence - By Margaret Altman

Nancy came to work the other day in a pretty good mood. It ended when her boss suddenly threw a fit over a simple typo in the first draft of a letter that he had dictated.

Red-faced & irate, her boss flung the letter on her desk & said; “What kind of stupidity is this, Nancy? Do you have any idea how important this client is? I can’t afford this kind of careless mistake in my correspondence & you know that!”

In a fit of desperation, Nancy pushed her chair back, stood up & left the office in tears. She felt completely naked & violated. She was flooded with anger & the pain of being belittled in front of other employees.

Does this situation feel familiar? It's quite common for explosions & implosions to occur at work, at home, on the road & at times when you least expect it. This kind of situation is just one example of what of what we refer to as an example of emotional unintelligence. And it can be a damaging, life altering event in a person’s life that can't be changed. Especially when the people who are involved are those you love.

The words emotional intelligence ring a bell in most of our minds. It’s a commodity that we’ve all yearned for without really knowing what it is or how it develops. These days we tend to think of emotional intelligence as a set of qualities that make us successful & popular with other people. The qualities or “hot attributes” that we associate with emotional intelligence are; optimistic, persistent, warm, team player, goal oriented etc. etc.

It’s a good list but these qualities are difficult to achieve & to maintain for any amount of time in the real world & in real relationships. How does one get these qualities?

There are training courses for business people & for students to learn how to try & be these wonderful things.

When we look closely at Nancy’s experience we can see that she was probably most of these things when she came into work on that fateful day. But these qualities faded fast when she was confronted with the emotional explosion of her boss. If we buy into the idea that emotional intelligence is a list of optimal attributes then we can understand why people give up quickly on the grueling job of pretending that they have these shining qualities.

The bare truth about emotional intelligence is that it's more than a hot list of admirable qualities. Emotional intelligence is a group of mental abilities that develop over time from infancy thru adulthood. These mental abilities enable you to delay impulsive responding to strong emotional stimuli & use your intelligent mind to cope with the situation.

Emotional intelligence doesn’t happen overnight or in a training course. In most cases adults have to consistently work at strengthening & exercising the key mental abilities that lead to emotional intelligence.

We're all works in progress in the domain of emotional intelligence. The mental abilities that have to be exercised & that develop from infancy are the most important “attributes” of all in terms of coping with the constant emotional roller coaster of life.

The beauty of emotional intelligence lies in watching the growth of 4 key abilities in the infant & young child. Before an infant can toddle around or talk that baby will have developed skills that will, i.e., empower him to delay his impulsive responses.

A milestone in this process is the infant’s growing skills in recognizing & appreciating the importance of human face & voice expressions. Looking at faces & listening to the tones in voices seems like such a natural capacity. But this skill like so many others has to be encouraged by parents & it develops into a monumental blocker of impulses. When the child gazes at faces & listens to voices he is taking that split second to process the emotional information.

As adults we can see how, when we take the time to look at the emotional expressions on someone’s face & hear the emotional tone in their voice we have that nanosecond in which to use that information before behaving or responding.

In this distracting & anxiety-provoking world we need all the nanoseconds we can get so that we don’t explode or implode. When we let this face & voice recognition skill get rusty then we are more prone to lash out or cave in when our buttons are pushed.

Emotional Intelligence in its developmental form is what we need to learn & to teach our youngsters. There is much more to learn about the abilities that empower emotional intelligence & a great deal of research has been done on this subject.

In the journals of Neurology, Psychology, Rehabilitative Medicine, Pediatrics & Geriatrics, the relevant studies are available to those with degrees & the patience to wade thru volumes of statistics.

The author of this article is part of a team of experts in Developmental Emotional Intelligence & our goal is to make this vital data available to the rest of the population. We have published one book, "Developing Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence" (available at Amazon & Barnes & Noble) & we're in the process of writing 2 books for Adolescent & Adult readers.

An excerpt from our first book will be available on this site.

We invite you to begin the process of learning about & developing your own wonderful abilities in the domain of emotional intelligence.

The Authors
Margaret Altman LCSW et al.

Margaret Altman is the author of "Developing Your Child's Emotional Intelligence" & associate director of the Department of Psychiatric Social Servies at OliveView-UCLA Medical Center. She is a specialist in Developmental Emotional Intelligence with over 25 years experience working with children, adolescents & adults

Sexual Feelings?
Be sure to click here to open a window at "the layer down under," another site within the emotional feelings network of 28+ sites! The article is very insightful and is helpful for new parents as well as parents with teenagers! It's at the bottom of the page once you click on the above link - scroll down to the bottom of the left hand column!

Talking With Kids Openly & Honestly About Sexuality By Michael McGee, C.S.T., Vice President of Education & Social Marketing, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Talking About Feelings

Teresa,The CuteKid™ Staff

As your child grows they will be faced with a variety of child emotions and events that will trigger sadness, anger, jealousy, happiness, loneliness, and other emotions. As a good parent it is important to talk about these feelings and how your child can deal with their emotions. Talking about how your child feels will help them learn to cope with their own feelings and with those of others.

Observe their behavior: Observing your child's behavior and actions can give you a glimpse of what they are feeling and your child�s emotions. If your child runs to her room and slams the door she is probably upset. If your son is bouncing up and down with his eyes lit up he is probably excited.

Ask questions: Ask your child how they feel. Find out if something happened at school, with a friend, or a family member. Don't expect your child just to open up and pour out what is bothering them. On the flip side if your child has something happy to share they might be waiting for you to ask also. My three-year-old daughter just threw some toys on the floor then climbed on my lap. I asked her, "Are you angry?" She said, "No." So I then asked her if she was sad. She told she was because she thought her sister wouldn't share. Because I asked I was able to easily resolve the situation.

Help identify emotions: Your child may not be sure how they feel. So supply them with a list of emotions to choose from. You could ask, "Are you angry? Or sad about what happened? Did you feel jealous?" This will help your child identify their emotions and then learn how to better deal with how they feel.

Listen: After you have identified how your child feels and asked your child what happened listen. Let them talk without interruption as they discuss the event that triggered their child emotion. Most children will open up when they realize that you are truly interested and want to know.

Talk about it: When your child has explained the reason they are feeling the way they do. Take a few minutes and talk about the experience. Validate your child's feelings. Don't dismiss how they feel as stupid. Just because you don't think a friend sitting by someone else at lunch should upset her doesn't mean that it should not. Discuss ways that she can feel better. Maybe she could talk to their friend. Or sit by someone else that she likes at lunch tomorrow.

Teach empathy After your child is feeling better take a minute and discuss what the other person might be feeling or the reason they did what they did. This way your child will learn empathy and that when they are upset the other person involved probably feels the same way.

Talking about your child's emotions and feelings helps validate how they feel. It teaches them how to better cope and control their emotions. It builds communication between you and your child. It also increases your child's self-esteem as they realize that how they feel is important to you.

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Being a Happy Parent - Part of Good Parenting

By Dr. Margaret Paul
December 31, 2006

Do your children see you as happy and peaceful, or do they see you as angry, depressed, or overburdened? Learn how important it is to good parenting for you to learn to take emotional responsibility for your own feelings.

When you were growing up, did you ever wish that your parents were happy? Did you feel safe when they were happy and peaceful?

My mother was rarely a happy person. Most of the time she was anxious, angry and felt overburdened, even though I was her only child. She rarely laughed and was often upset with me, or my father. Clearly, she made both of us responsible for her happiness and we consistently fell short.

I would have given anything to have had a happy mother - a mother who knew how to take responsibility for her own happiness and pain. I would have loved to have had a mother who showed me how to take loving care of myself instead showing me how to be an unhappy martyr.

Often, in my counseling work with parents, I ask them if their parents were happy. Most of the time they say no. I ask them if they wanted their parents to be happy and invariably they say, "Yes, I would have loved it." Yet these same parents are not taking responsibility for making themselves happy now. They are acting just like their parents - anxious, angry, depressed, withdrawn, resistant, or compliant. They are controlling with each other or with their children in the same ways their parents were controlling.

"As parents," I say to them, "it is your responsibility to learn how to make yourselves happy so you can be role models for your children. How can your children learn how to take emotional responsibility if you don't? Right now, you are role modeling being a victim of your circumstances instead of being an emotionally responsible adult. You are using your anger, upsets and unhappiness to control your children, or you are putting yourself aside to take care of everyone but yourself. How can they learn to take care of themselves if you are not taking care of yourselves?"

Many parents take care of externals: they keep the house clean, they are on time, they pay their bills, and they earn money. Some parents even take care of their physical health by eating well and getting enough exercise. But many parents fail to take care of their emotional wellbeing.

Taking care of your emotional wellbeing means that you recognize that you cause your own feelings with your thoughts and actions. When you think and behave in ways that are unloving to yourself or others - that are not in your highest good - you will be unhappy. When you think and behave in ways that are loving to yourself and others - that are in your highest good - you will be happy. Your positive or negative emotions are completely the result of your own thoughts and actions.

If you operate from the belief that how your children act, or how your partner acts, or how your external life is, causes your feelings, then you are operating as a victim. As a victim, your happiness is dependent upon others doing what you want them to do and on getting the outcomes you want. If this is your belief system, then you are teaching your children to be victims.

Taking emotional responsibility means practicing Inner Bonding - staying tuned into your own feelings and immediately shifting your thought process and actions when you are feeling negative feelings. It means that you learn to access a spiritual source of inner guidance to help you know how to take loving care of yourself. You need to learn to turn to your spiritual guidance to help you think the thoughts and take the actions that are true and in harmony with your soul, rather than operating from the false beliefs that cause you pain.

Do not kid yourself into thinking that as long as you are there for your children you are being good parents. You also need to learn to be there for yourself so that you can be a happy and peaceful parent. Joining the Inner Bonding membership community can be a great support in helping you learn to be present for your and for your children.

source site: www.innerbonding.com


the following web links are provided for your convenience in visiting the source sites of the information displayed on this page:

kid's health.com / En Espanol index of subjects

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Click here to visit the Red Cross page that allows you to access your local chapter of the Red Cross by entering your zip code in the specified box, to see how you can help in your area. You can also call your local Red Cross Chapter that you can find the number for online or in your local phone book to volunteer for any openings that may need to be filled or you can find another way to help others there as well!

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please have a great day & take a few minutes to explore some of the other sites in the emotional feelings network of sites! explore the unresolved emotions & feelings that may be the cause of some of your pain & hurt... be curious & open to new possibilities! thanks again for visiting at anxieties 102!
anxieties 101 - click here!
anxieties 102 - click here!
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til' next time! kathleen
this is simply an informational website concerning emotions & feelings. it does not advise anyone to perform methods -treatments - practice described within, endorse methods described anywhere within or advise any visitor with medical or psychological treatment that should be considered only thru a medical doctor, medical professional, or mental health professional.  in no way are we a medical professional or mental health professional.