Managing negative emotions in a healthy way can be difficult. For children and teens, it can be even more challenging because their brains are not fully developed. Fortunately, parents have a big influence on how their children grow emotionally. This article from Protect Young Minds suggests parents and children create “care tags.” These tags include the following:
- When I…(behavior): Discuss common behaviors that your child exhibits – laugh, cry, yell, etc.
- I am feeling…(emotion): Parents will discuss common feelings that their child feels. For example, when the child is crying, they may feel scared or angry.
- I need…(healthy response/self-care): Parents discuss with their child what they need when the have that emotion (a hug, to be left alone, etc).
This exercise can also be beneficial for adults. How often do we choose to eat a bowl of ice cream when we are stressed rather than take a short walk? By learning how to manage negative emotions now, the brain can make better decisions next time it is under stress.