How To Help Children With Their Emotions

Child and parent holding handsHaving a child is likely to be the most rewarding and frustrating feat that you ever attempt – and that’s a fact. Indeed, you’ll probably feel as though you’re lurching from one developmental minefield to another, all the time wondering whether your child is reaching their milestones with plenty of room to spare. When it comes to nurturing a child, it can be easy to neglect their emotional responses, perhaps taking your child’s comprehension of certain feelings for granted. However, emotions are as confusing and frustrating for our children as they are for us. As adults, we have to be prepared to nurture every stage of their development, regardless of how daunting that prospect may seem right now.

Tips for providing emotional support to your children

Recognizing that your child is experiencing emotions, and that such responses are vital to their understanding of the world, means that you’re halfway towards helping your child to overcome the issues that they may be facing.


Perhaps the best and simplest advice that any parent can arm themselves with is to listen; don’t assume that you know how your child is feeling purely because you’re the adult. Emotions are complex beasts, but we must give our little ones the opportunity to discover what it is they’re experiencing before we attempt to put a label upon it. Bad behavior and strong, emotional responses can often come as the result of unmet needs. What could you be missing? What is your child unable to tell you? Children aren’t always able to articulate their needs, but your nurture will guide your child towards acceptable behavior and expression.

Help your child to tell their story

Strong emotions have a habit of fueling strong, unpredictable reactions, but your child’s ability to speak calmly and clearly may just help you to get to the bottom of whatever is troubling them. Rather than stemming your child’s outbursts, allow them to give a name to those feelings. Where does it hurt? How do you feel? How did that happen? The attribution of words to certain emotional responses will enable your child to understand how they are feeling, and perhaps control any future outbursts. Use visual aids if necessary, but always wait until your child has calmed down before you press them for the particulars.

Look out for changes in your child’s behavior

No one knows your child better than you, and so, frustratingly, it will fall upon you to determine what’s triggering your child’s emotional outbursts. However, learning to recognize these triggers will stand you in good stead for helping your child to understand and control their emotions – particularly if you’re able to predict the outcomes of certain situations. Whether it’s the transition from one activity to another, hearing the word “no”, or an overcrowded room, your child may be experiencing difficulties in processing some circumstances. You won’t always be able to protect your child, but with a lot of love and support, you should able to prepare them for those eventualities and the ensuing emotions that they might come to expect.

Be open to all resources

If you’re struggling to guide your child through a particular set of circumstances or emotional responses, it’s essential to be aware of the resources that are available to you during the approaching months and years. From social media communities and health-care pamphlets to the organizations that are founded specifically to help children and young people, you must be open to seeking and receiving help. Institutions such as the Newport Academy can become vital lifelines to families with teenagers, especially those struggling with stress, anxiety, or related mental health issues; there’s absolutely no shame in contacting such a facility. It can be incredibly difficult to watch a child struggling with emotional demons, and one glimpse at the Newport Academy reviews should reassure you that these places have your child’s best interests at heart.

Try not to fear teenagerdom

You’ll no doubt remember your teenage years well; perhaps you even remember a little of how you felt at the time. Your teenager is likely to face a barrage of emotional challenges as they navigate school, social circles, and hormonal changes, and not all of them will be positive ones. Indeed, from the pressures introduced by obsessive cellphone use and social media, to the academic struggles that they may face, your child’s teenage years are likely to be hard on the whole family. The trick here is to remain vigilant, and to seek assistance as soon as you feel that your child’s emotions are spiraling out of control. Remain open and available, but realize that there’s no shame in asking for support.

The role of a parent is a tough one; it will often seem as though you’re battling against a rising tide, particularly when it comes to the issue of emotional development. It is essential that you make yourself emotionally available to your child at all times, and ensure that they understand that your attention is undivided. Your child may feel, at times, as though they are completely alone; with your nurture and guidance, this hopefully won’t always be the case.

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  1. Kate Sarsfield says:

    Any parent of a teenager has my utmost sympathy! I was an absolute horror – talk about a drama Queen!

  2. Tamra Phelps says:

    I have a niece who’s a teen now. I would say moodiness has hit, but the truth is she’s always been moody & it might be a family trait, lol. As a toddler, she would say, “I’m having a mood” if she was perturbed.

  3. Keeping the lines of communication open with children is so important. You can tell when something is bothering them when their behavior changes. I have a pre-teen granddaughter who will be entering a new school in 7th grade in a few weeks. She has just had a big growth spurt in height. With all these new changes going on, I make sure I listen to her and we have discussions all the time.

  4. This is all good information. I’m chuckling at some of the comments, as I can relate. I used to take care of my niece every weekend for years, when she became a pre-teen, I thought I was going to handle it with aplomb, no hysterics, crying jags, you name it, like her mom was navigating with her, after all I was fav auntie. Wrong! We all survived. Maybe if I had this post back then it would have helped.

    • Ohhh Rosie isn’t that the truth!! I thought WOW I’m gonna be the COOLEST MOM ever …. then the teen years hit. Ya just have to live through it and remember this is why wild animals eat their young.
      oops did I say that out loud!?

  5. Parenting is tough especially with teens. From my experience, it helps to let angry teens express their feelings without interrupting or judging. Wait until things cool off before having a real conversation.
    Veronica Lee recently posted…Tail & TroubleMy Profile

    • My kids were really tough at age 13. I swear I use to tell people I wish that they would put all 13 year old on an island until they were human again then they could return them to me.

  6. I’m not a parent, but not so long ago I was a teenager so even though I am an adult now I remember how everything felt back then. It is so important to listen to the angst a child or teen is going through. It is part of growing up but it’s important to know that you have a support system there for you when everything feels like the end of the world. 🙂

  7. Open ended questions are good for getting good answers. Glad I’m not a parent.

  8. Listening is such an important point! No matter how young;, we need to listen to children.
    Edye recently posted…What To Do When You Don’t Feel God’s Presence!My Profile

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