As a mom and child psychologist, Caitlyn Slavens understands children's anger. The 3 statements she suggests using will ensure healthy expression.
As parents, one of the most important things to do is communicate with your kids. Proper communication with children is a crucial part of their learning and development process. Children also bond with their parents based on their communication patterns. Mom Caitlin Slavens, who is a co-founder of Mama Psychologists, shared with CNBC Make It the 3 phrases that greatly add to the communication and bonding between parents and children, especially when they are angry.
Slavens said, "Emotions are simply messengers and anger is a valuable message. It lets us know that we haven't been treated well or that we have been hurt or violated in some way." She then shared 3 things parents can say to help when their child is going through anger or upsetting phases. The first was, "I see you feel angry about this right now and I can understand why." The mom then compared the adult understanding and tolerance to that of kids and explained that even minor inconveniences can seem like a lot for kids.
"Adult brains can recognize that anger is sometimes a minor inconvenience. But to kids, it can feel huge, overwhelming and unfair," she said. She urged parents to ensure that in such cases, their child feels "seen" and "heard." "When they feel that we truly get it and are on their side, they'll feel more comfortable regulating their emotions," she highlighted. The next phrase Slavens pointed out was, "I care about how you feel and I will help you through this. What can we do right now?" The psychologist's mom elaborated and said that when children are upset, they need to feel connected like a team with their parents and not the opposite.
The second was, "You want to convey to your kid that you're a team and that you are there to help them move through all the big and messy emotions." The mom suggested that such an approach portrays one to be a steady leader who will be able to support their child. In addition to supporting them, Slavens recommends offering ways for children to express their anger. "Some kids need to move their body, some like to draw, and some need comfort," the mom said, but she stressed the need to allow children to choose what makes them feel comfortable and safe.
The last pointer was, "How big is your anger right now?" Slavens pointed out that kids who feel deeply often do not wish to express that they're feeling a negative emotion like anger. "However, when they can step outside of themselves and observe the emotion they're feeling, they will be empowered to take control and work to make the emotion smaller," she added. The mom psychologist concluded that anger is completely natural as an emotion and as parents, individuals must help their kids overcome the same by learning how to express themselves first. "Are we always going to be perfect? No. But if we can show up for them and stay calm in their chaos, we can create a successful blueprint for them to follow into adulthood," she concluded.
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