How to help kids with big feelings

Parenting is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding yet challenging roles we take on. As a busy working dad, managing the demands of your career alongside the responsibilities of raising a child can often leave you feeling stretched thin. One of the significant challenges parents face is navigating the emotional terrain of their children—those moments when big feelings emerge, leaving both child and parent unsure of how to handle the situation.

In these moments, it’s crucial to recognize that helping your child understand and manage their emotions is a journey, not a destination. The following insights and strategies might serve as valuable tools in your parenting toolbox:

1. Practice Self-Compassion: The Crucial First Step

Parenthood doesn’t come with a manual, and the pressure to be a perfect parent can be overwhelming. The truth is, there’s no quick fix or hack to make everything smooth sailing. The journey involves embracing the practice of self-compassion.

Start by acknowledging that you are learning and growing alongside your child. Allow yourself the grace to accept that some days will be challenging. Reflect on the phrase, “What is my best look and feel like today?” Recognizing and accepting your own feelings allows you to approach parenting from a place of understanding and empathy.

2. Connect Before Correct: Building Trust and Understanding

When faced with your child’s big feelings, the instinct to correct or discipline might be strong. However, prioritizing connection before correction can make a significant difference. Take a moment to understand what your child is experiencing emotionally.

Instead of reacting immediately, consider creating a pause. This pause allows you to breathe, providing an opportunity for both you and your child to de-escalate emotionally. This simple act of self-regulation can lead to more constructive conversations and build a foundation of trust.

3. Embrace the Power of Do-Overs: Opportunities for Growth

Parenting is a continuous learning process. Recognizing that there’s always an opportunity for a “do-over” can be liberating. If a situation escalates and you find yourself reacting instead of responding, don’t be afraid to revisit the conversation.

Apologize if needed, demonstrating vulnerability and modeling the behavior you hope to see in your child. Share your own struggles and express that you, too, are on a journey of learning. This not only fosters a deeper connection with your child but also teaches them the importance of self-reflection and growth.

In conclusion, parenting is an evolving journey filled with ups and downs. As a busy working dad, acknowledging the challenges and adopting a mindset of continuous growth can pave the way for a more harmonious relationship with your child. By practicing self-compassion, prioritizing connection before correction, and embracing the power of do-overs, you equip yourself with valuable tools to navigate the complex landscape of your child’s big feelings.

Remember, it’s not about being a perfect parent; it’s about being present and willing to learn. The journey may not always be easy, but the rewards of a deeper connection with your child make it worthwhile.

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Supporting Men & Dads in the workplace

Download our free guide to help employers create a more inclusive and supportive work environment for men and dads.