5 steps to help junior manage his emotions

Is your moody kid lashing out frequently? Help him keep his angry feelings in check with these tips.

The fact is, you can’t stop your child from getting upset, unlike your ability to set limits on his behaviour. Even as adults, there’ll be times when our emotions get the better of us. The difference is that, as adults, we have learned how to cope with these feelings in an appropriate way, while kids haven’t quite gotten the hang of it yet.

Your child might have problems dealing with his emotions because he lacks both self-awareness and does not have an adequate “emotional vocabulary” yet. The term refers to words, gestures and expressions to help him explain what he is feeling. Instead, he throws tantrums, cries, pouts, lashes out at other people, takes his anger out on others, ignores you, refuses to join in, whines, complains, and maybe even breaks things.

This may be because “parents don’t talk about emotions, fail to prioritise it, or ignore it, which can lead to poor self-awareness and a [build up] of negative emotions”, explains Daniel Koh, a psychologist at Insights Mind Centre.

“Parents don’t talk about emotions, fail to prioritise it, or ignore it, which can lead to poor self-awareness and a [build up] of negative emotions.”

You can start to teach your child how to manage his emotions as soon as he is able to respond to your instructions, Koh notes. In fact, if you don’t help them learn how to control his anger, Koh cautions that it can give rise to:

*Passive aggressive behaviours Instead of threatening or yelling and acting out, your child chooses to ignore your instructions or worse, your very existence.

*Bullying Feelings of shame and low self-esteem are closely related to the likelihood of a child becoming a bully.

*Self-harm Children who mutilate themselves often describe the feeling of cutting themselves as a release from all their pent-up emotions

*Isolation and avoidance Your child might become more and more withdrawn from the world, especially if he suffers bouts of depression later in life.

*Psychiatric disorders A wide array of mental health issues may plague children who don’t have emotional coping skills. These can run the gamut from Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to even anxiety disorders.

*Suicidal thoughts Dejection, sadness and depression can overwhelm your child. Worse, it can cause him to lose faith in life.

Continue reading for emotional management strategies your kiddo can acquire…