Just as children come in all body types, they also come in all emotional types. Some children are natural stoics. Some children have a seemingly endless supply of pendular emotions. Other children are one-sided emotionally, reacting to a variety of situations with a specific emotional response, such as anger or disappointment. You may have emotionally different children but one desired outcome — for each child to become responsible for his or her emotional response.
KNOWING YOUR OWN EMOTIONAL STATE
Before we begin to talk about your child, we need to talk about you.
As the adult role model, you need to have your emotional act together. Just as your own poor food choices can make it difficult for your children to eat responsibly, your poor emotional choices can make it difficult for your children to react responsibly. Your emotional stability, or lack thereof, provides an environment for your child’s emerging emotions.
Think for a moment how you usually respond to the following situations with your child — not what you hope you’ll do or what you think you should do but your standard response.
- How do you respond when your child whines?
- How do you respond when your child is excited?
- How do you respond when your child is angry?
- How do you respond when your child is happy?
- How do you respond when your child is defiant?
- How do you respond when your child is hopeful?
- How do you respond when your child is sad?
- How do you respond when your child is right?
- How are your responses to others different from how you respond to y9ur child?
The way you respond to your child, and to others, speaks volumes. As the adult, you set the emotional tone for your child, affecting his or her own emotional response. So now take the time to go through the same nine questions again, this time answering with the healthy responses you would like to emulate in the future.
ASK FOR HELP
Father, thank you for making us as diverse emotionally as we are physically. Help me to know and understand my child’s emotions. I confess I’ve allowed the sun to go down on my own anger. I accept that my emotional stability is a model for my child. Help me to allow my child to experience and express emotions. Alert me to any difficulty my child has with emotional stability, and help me to subdue my pride in order to get needed help. Amen.
SOURCE: Chapter 7, “R is for Responsible for My Emotions,” in Healthy Habits, Healthy Kid: A Practical Plan to Help Your Family by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.
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