All feelings are OK.
Some parents tell their children that strong emotions such as anger, frustration, excitement are unacceptable.
Strong emotions are OK. They are normal and all of us will feel them at some time in the day or week. Strong emotions are quite motivating and energising. Think about how much can get done when people get angry (for example, Vincent Lingiari, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela).
So, all feelings are OK, but it is what we do with our emotions that matters. It is not OK to hurt someone else’s feelings or physically hurt others when we are angry.
It is also not OK to blame someone else for how we feel, for example “you make me feel angry”. You are having the emotion and taking responsible for how you feel gives you the power to change it. Blame is a dead end street – it stops you from feeling that you can take the initiative to make changes.
So what else do kids need to know about feelings?
- You feel feelings in your body.
- You can tell how someone else is feeling by looking at their facial expression and body language, hearing what they say, watching what they do, and looking at the situation. You can also ask them how they feel.
- Different people can have different feelings about the same thing. This can sometimes cause conflict, but it is important to understand that not everyone will think and feel the same as you. Even the best of friends will disagree.
- You can have two different feelings about the same situation. For example, you may be excited about moving to a new school, but worried too.
- Your feelings about something can change over time. This happens because over time you gain more knowledge, understanding, experience, and maturity.
- To understand others’ behaviour, you have to understand their perspective.
Our thoughts, feelings, and actions are linked. If we are thinking negative thoughts, it will lead to feeling sad, angry, or frustrated. These strong negative emotions will affect what we do, our actions. When we learn to understand the nature of our feelings, we gain a greater understanding of ourselves and others.
Categories: Skills for Kids