Andie Chen On Teaching Kids How To Manage Their Emotions: 'Work On Your Own Demons First'
"If you want your kids to be emotionally strong and healthy, you gotta work on your own demons first."
A struggle parents can unanimously agree on is perhaps helping their toddler cope with big emotions such as tantrums and emotional meltdowns.
At least for celebrity dad Andie Chen, who shared his experiences on Instagram, saying that teaching his kids how to understand and manage emotions is perhaps “the most difficult part of parenting”.
From his experience in dealing with his two children, 5-year-old Aden and 3-year-old Avery, Andie shares that it is important for parents to be able to first deal with their own emotions. Here, self-awareness is important as parents’ behaviour can tell their children what is acceptable, or not.
“If you want your kids to be emotionally strong and healthy, you gotta work on your own demons first (sic),” he wrote.
According to Dr Florence Huang, a Hong Kong-based psychologist, children, but younger ones, in particular, view their parents as role models and tend to imitate their behaviour.
When parents express negative emotions, children may experience them as background anger causing them to internalise it without themselves realising. While children of varying ages internalise these experiences differently, toddlers and small children may react by showing anger or distress.
“Kids are kids, their brains are still in the midst of development so emotions can sometimes still be very foreign to them,” said Andie.
He notes that it helps when parents learn how to differentiate between children simply throwing a tantrum and when they are “truly puzzled and overwhelmed” by their own emotions.
There is a reason why children act up—sometimes over the most illogical reasons. It is as frustrating for the young ones as well who have yet to master the ability to express their wants and needs using logic and words.
And according to Andie, emotions “are not bad” and “take(s) time to dissipate”. He advises against dismissing these emotions.
“Telling your kids they shouldn’t be angry or sad is a sure way for them to hide their emotions from you in the future,” he said.
“After any breakdown (not during), discuss what they felt, identify the emotion(s), and give them some tools to deal with the specific emotion(s) they just felt [sic],” Andie advised when it comes to helping children deal with these emotions.
The 35-year-old shared that he once threw soft toys at the wall with his son, Aden, after a rage outburst.
Essentially, every child wants to feel understood and validated and parents play a crucial role in helping make sense of his or her emotions.
It also helps to remember that children are unique individuals, each child developing and growing at a different pace. The best thing a parent can do for his or her child is to be patient and provide a safe space to express their emotions.
You can view his full post here:
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⠀ Teaching the kids how to understand and manage emotions is probably the most difficult part of parenting. The following are what I’ve learnt from dealing with my little lovable devils.⠀ -⠀ 1. Deal with your own emotional shit. If you want your kids to be emotionally strong and healthy, you gotta work on your own demons first.⠀ -⠀ 2. Kids are kids, their brains are still in the midst of development so emotions can sometimes still be very foreign to them. Learn to differentiate when they are throwing a tantrum and when they are truly puzzled and overwhelmed by what they are feeling.⠀ -⠀ 3. Don’t dismiss emotions, they are not bad and they take time to dissipate. Telling your kids they shouldn’t be angry or sad is a sure way for them to hide their emotions from you in the future.⠀ -⠀ 4. After any breakdown (not during), discuss what they felt, identify the emotion(s), and give them some tools to deal with the specific emotion(s) they just felt. I threw soft toys at the wall with Aden after a rage outburst recently.⠀ -⠀ I hope sharing these experiences helps! #parenting #father @kandiefamily⠀
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