It is normal for every person to experience a wide range of emotions. But children often are frustrated, happy, annoyed, proud, etc all within one hour! Worse, they sometimes have uncontrolled tantrums. Hearing negative emotions from a child often is irritating and difficult for a parent to deal with. As parents we often unwittingly deny our child’s negative feelings and may indicate to them that it is bad to experience or express those emotions. However, in the long run, acknowledging and naming these emotions is beneficial to your child.
Our child’s negative emotions can make us uncomfortable and our reaction may often teach children to deny these feelings. “You don’t hate your grandmother!!” “Don’t be sad.” “We will get you a new hamster.” The child may interpret this as “You should always feel happy or something is wrong with you”. We need to acknowledge their feelings because unexpressed or unacknowledged feelings are not released. They stay with the child and come out later in other ways. Repressed emotions are like putting drops of red dye in clear water. If the red color is not immediately scooped out, all of the water has a red tint. Can you think of ways that suppressed anger can eventually come out? Can you think of ways that suppressed sadness can eventually come out?