Most parents believe good parenting means never letting their child have intolerable feelings. There is a load of emotionality that comes with simply being a human being who interacts with others. It can be tempting to soothe or rescue your child whenever they are struggling. But as experts say it is always a good idea to let them deal with small struggles on their own and lend our helping hands just here and there.
From childhood through adulthood, the ability to tolerate uncomfortable and unwanted feelings is essential for negotiating every kind of relationship. This is learned through repeated encounters with these feelings, the successes and failures of dealing with them, and finally the experience of oneself as competent to manage.
How can we best help our kids develop into adults who persevere and can handle life’s inevitable setbacks?
Step 1: Help them acknowledge the feeling
Teach your child about feelings and help her understand that intense emotions shouldn’t serve as an excuse to justify misbehavior. Feeling angry doesn’t give her a right to hit someone and feelings of sadness don’t have to lead to moping around for hours on end. Teach your child that he’s responsible for her own behavior and it’s not acceptable to blame others for her feelings.
It’s equally important to remind your child that she’s not in charge of other people’s emotions. If she makes a healthy choice, and someone else becomes angry, that’s OK.
Step 2: Empowering through choice
Giving your child a choice in that moment allows them to feel empowered and in control, which immediately shifts their feeling of disappointment.
Instilling good values and strong character will give your child confidence in his/her ability to make good decisions, despite other people’s disapproval. If kids learn early on that they have the wherewithal to get through situations that make them uneasy, anxious, unhappy, angry, etc., they will be in a good position to manage their lives.