Monday, November 8, 2010

Why do kids need to know their emotions?

Sometimes we feel good, and sometimes we feel bad. Both kinds of feelings are normal. Of course, we all enjoy good feelings. But when we don't like the way we are feeling, sometimes we don't know what to do about it. 


That's why controlling emotions must be taught. It doesn't comes naturally. Even adults are having hard time managing their emotions. It is even harder for kids, don't you think so?

The reason is most likely that they are experiencing emotions that they cannot identify. They don't know how to process what they are feeling. And believe me, emotions can be sometimes frightening when you can't understand and control it.

As a parent, we are responsible for our children's physical safety and also their emotional health. To take care of their emotional health is by teaching them their emotions and feelings.

There are a few benefits by understanding your kids emotions such as:-
1. help them develop skills they need to navigate tricky emotional and psychosocial terrain as they grow. 

2. enable them to identify and correct their emotions so that they mature into rational adults who can control the emotions of anger, jealousy.

3. lessen frustrations and improves communication between parents and kids.

One way to understand and identify feelings and emotions are by watching facial expressions.

There are a few researches that shows the benefits of being able to understand the facial expressions.

Good social skills may depend on the ability to decipher facial expressions, particularly expressions in the eye region (DeClerk and Bogart 2008).

Moreover, experiments suggest that people who are better at identifying fearful facial expressions are also more kind and generous towards others (Marsh et al 2007).

Reading facial expressions is not merely talent. It can be taught and guess what? We can start early.

So how do we teach our kids to identify and understand their emotions?

1. Introduce them about feelings such as angry, sad, happy, afraid, excited and etc. You may use flashcards, pictures from magazines, strorybooks or your own facial expressions to start with.

2. Use songs to help. "If you are happy and you know" song would help. 
3. Play a Simon says type game using feelings. Instead of directing kids to clap their hands, direct them to show sadness, anger, happiness, fear and other emotions using their face and actions. 
4.  Avoid negative statements. There are no good or bad emotions.
5. Accept their feelings. Avoid moralizing, humiliating, denying, pitying and rescuing. People have a right to their own emotions. 
6. Love them unconditionally.

After all, it is not enough to have bright, academically excellent kids at home.  In this dog eats dog world, self-control and self-interpretation of emotions is crucial.

Equipped your kids with the necessary and strengthen them with solid islamic foundation.

Nip it in the bud is the best advice. Otherwise once the Muslim child develops undesirable habits and unethical values, it becomes extremely difficult to make the child into a good Muslim/Muslimah.

Insha Allah, with Allah's will and help, they'll be able to survive.

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