Children don’t start out avoiding feelings of sadness, frustration or anxiety. They want to talk about them as much as they do the more comfortable feelings. But they quickly learn that these feelings are often taboo. Parents can make an enormous difference to this.
Children will often be your best guides and help you to help them talk about their feelings. Children ask questions, lots of them. Answer all your children’s questions with honesty, particularly when they are about negative feelings. Often, our initial reaction is to console, explain or eliminate negative feelings. This does not provide your child with the tools to deal with similar situations in the future.
For example, if your child expresses fear, avoid reactions like, “There’s nothing to be afraid of,” or, “Don’t be scared.” This can make your child feel unheard and shuts down communication. Accepting all of your child’s feelings, allows your child to accept their own feelings and work with them.