Think back to a time when you were experiencing challenging behaviors from your children and how you responded to those behaviors. What was your reaction? Did you get upset and angry, ignore, or avoid the situation? Managing your feelings and emotions can be tough when handling challenging behaviors. Understanding self-awareness and self-regulation is important for helping your children manage emotions and feelings as well.
All parents have been to a point in their parenting journey where their emotions and feelings may get the best of them and maybe don’t respond in the way they had hoped for. If you reacted with anger, you might feel guilty after the fact about your response. If you answered with avoidance, you might feel guilty that you didn’t address the behavior. Depending on your type of reaction, that response may escalate an already challenging behavior.
Managing emotions and feelings in front of your children is essential. How you respond to a particular situation, models to your children how to react when they are upset. Adults and caregivers need to be aware of their emotions and feelings to help children learn how to manage their own feelings and emotions in a healthy and appropriate manner.
Here are some strategies that may help parents and caregivers handle situations noted in the article Managing Your Own Emotions: The Key to Positive, Effective Parenting:
- Tune into your feelings:
- Understanding and knowing how you feel regarding a specific behavior, situation, or issue can help you to respond more appropriately and positively to a problem.
- Do the unexpected:
- Instead of becoming frustrated or angry with a situation, Claire Lerner, recommends doing something unexpected, such as giving your child a big bear hug or doing something silly. Doing something unexpected can be a distraction to the negative or unwanted feeling/behavior. (Managing your own emotions: The Key to Positive, Effective Parenting).
- Give yourself a time-out:
- Giving yourself a time-out can help you keep calm and be able to help manage emotions more appropriately. Stepping away from the situation for a few minutes to calm down and gather your thoughts and then returning to the behavior or issue will be helpful.
This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Jaclyn Stroehl, LBSW