7 Uncomfortable Emotions You Need to Allow Your Child to Experience

Teach Kids Healthy Ways to Deal with Uncomfortable Emotions
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Although it would be wonderful to be able to shield your child from the realities of life forever, it’s just not possible. Yet, many parents work really hard to prevent their children from experiencing uncomfortable emotions.

Protecting your children from discomfort, however, won’t do them any favors in the long-run. Although it may put a temporary smile on their faces, rescuing them from all pain can actually cause them more problems later in life.

Kids need to learn how to cope with uncomfortable emotions in a healthy way. Coach your child how to deal with those emotions and he'll be better prepared to deal with the responsibilities - and disappointments - of adulthood.

Here are seven uncomfortable emotions kids need to learn how to manage:

1. Frustration

Although it can be tempting to rescue a frustrated child right away, kids need to know how to deal with frustration effectively. Whether your child is struggling with math problems, or he’s having difficulty making his bed, don’t do the work for him just because he’s growing frustrated.

Recommend he take a break or a few deep breaths if necessary, but encourage him to tackle the problem again when he’s calm. If kids aren't given opportunities to problem-solve on their own, they risk developing a sense of learned helplessness, where they depend on the people around them to solve their problems for them.

2. Anger

Anger isn’t a bad emotion – it’s what people choose to do with their anger than can be either positive or negative. Kids need to learn healthy ways to cope with angry feelings and they need to recognize that it’s not okay to hit or behave aggressively when they feel upset.

Resist the urge to calm your child down every time he’s angry.

Instead, teach him how to calm his body on his own. Deep breathing and taking a time-out are just a few of the anger management techniques that can help kids learn how to calm their bodies when they’re feeling upset.

3. Disappointment

Whether your child didn’t make the baseball team, or his grandmother didn’t show up to take him out for ice cream as promised, it's okay for kids to experience disappointment sometimes. After all, they’ll experience disappointment throughout their lives and it’s good for them to understand that when things don’t work out in their favor, it’s not the end of the world.

4. Guilt

If an apology always gets your child off the hook, he isn’t likely to experience much guilt about misbehavior. It’s important for kids to recognize that their behavior affects other people and an apology doesn’t erase that. While shame isn’t helpful, a little healthy guilt can lead to constructive changes.

If you tend to say, “Oh that’s okay,” each time your child apologizes, you may be sending the message that he doesn’t need to feel guilty.

A child who feels guilty that he hurt someone’s feelings may think twice before hurting someone again. If however, you force him to apologize to the victim and then pretend nothing happened, he may not learn his lesson.

5. Anxiety

It’s not healthy for kids to experience constant anxiety, it is important for them to recognize that they can do some things that are anxiety-provoking. If your child is anxious about trying a new sport or attending a birthday party, encouraging him to follow through despite his anxiety can be healthy.

It’s important to teach kids to face some of their fears. When they experience positive outcomes, like having fun at an event they felt nervous about attending – they learn that their anxiety doesn’t have to prevent them from doing things they want to do.

6. Sadness

Although it can be tempting to cheer your child up every time you see him feeling sad, kids need to know that it’s okay to feel sad sometimes. Whether your child just lost the championship game, or he’s grieving the loss of his pet, feeling sad is a normal response. Show your child that it’s okay to feel sad for a while, as long as he doesn't stay stuck in a bad mood.

7. Boredom

Everyone feels bored sometimes and kids need to know that they don’t require constant entertainment. Just because your child says, “I’m bored,” doesn’t mean you need to solve the problem. Instead, encourage your child to proactively address his boredom, or cope with his feelings in a positive manner.

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