“For a child or an adult, it’s extremely powerful to hear someone say, ‘I get you. I understand. I see why you feel this way.’ This kind of empathy disarms us.”

Daniel Siegel

Riding the Waves of Big Emotions

Children sometimes experience big emotions, like anger, sadness, or anxiety. Imagine that your child comes home from school and says “no one likes me”, or they stare at their school project and yell “I can’t do this!”, or you tell them to get off their phone and they yell “you ruin everything!” and slam the door. What do you do in these situations?

Most parents’ initial response is reassuring or problem solving. If our child’s behaviour is inappropriate, we might also quickly reprimand them.

“When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our calm, not to join their chaos.”

– L.R. Knost.

Why do we react in these ways? We want our children to calm down and behave well, we want to prevent their emotional pain, or we don’t understand their emotions. However, when these are our initial responses, we miss an opportunity to help our children learn how to understand, manage, and recover from difficult emotions.

It is important that we connect with our children’s emotions before we redirect their behaviour.

Helpful Resources

Dr Brené Brown, “The Power of Empathy”

Mark Ruffalo on Empathy | Sesame Street

Helping Children with their Big Emotions | WRDSB Psychology Department

Managing Big Emotions

Throwback to a humorous look at tuning in and validating from Everybody Loves Raymond.

These practices are supported by research and we encourage folks to give them a try! But, we also acknowledge that we all have different backgrounds and experiences. This may make your big emotion strategies and practices look different in your family.

“It’s also crucial to keep in mind that no matter how nonsensical and frustrating our child’s feelings may seem to us, they are real and important to our child. It’s vital that we treat them as such in our response.”

Daniel Siegel, The Whole Brain Child

Mindful Moment

Check out these mindful strategies to help calm “in the moment”

But remember….learn and practice them first and then you may be ready to try them when you need them!

Short on time but feeling high on stress?

Community Events

Woolwich Counselling

KW Counselling

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)

Lunch & Learns for Caregivers with WRDSB Psychology Department

Wednesdays from 12:15 to 12:45 pm

May 5: The Impact of COVID-19 on Teen Mental Health, and What They Need To Do Well

May 12: Reinforcement: Your Parenting Gold Star

May 19: A New Way of Looking at Parenting Styles

May 26: Who Knows Best? When Parents Disagree.

Random Acts of Kindness

Ideas from the Random Acts of Kindness calendar:

  • Pick up litter
  • Return the shopping cart to its place
  • Say Hello to 2 people each day

Need Some Help?

For urgent matters call 911 or go to your local emergency room

Here 24/7: 1-844-437-3247

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or text “CONNECT” to 686868

Front Door: 519 749 2932, and press “1”

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For more information about this newsletter contact Mary Murphy at 519-570-0003, ext. 4172.