July 29, 2021

Discussing Emotions with Children

By Bria Mccalpin
Mental Health & Wellbeing

Emotions can be a difficult topic to explore with a lot of people, no matter what demographic. Today, we’ll chat about how to speak with the younger generation about feelings. 

Children are like adults, and they experience complex emotions just the same. However, it can be hard to recognize and name their emotions. Feelings, especially the more vulnerable ones such as sadness and anger, can be even tougher to convey, but we all have different ways of communicating what we are feeling internally to externally. Thinking in the mindset of children, they can also give context to their emotions, whether that is an, “obvious,” mood shift or, “acting out.” Overall, it is important for children to be able to comprehend those feelings, and sometimes, they need some support in this area. 

Support Children in Having Feelings

Emotions can be scary to some children, notably if they are not able to name the feeling. It is beneficial for children to feel encouraged by their caregivers, that their emotions are validated. By having a conversation with children about feelings, it can show them that you see them and want them to feel heard. Through accepting children’s feelings, you are helping them feel understood and letting them know that their feelings are justified. If others are not able to support them in emotions, they will know their parents are there with open arms to acknowledge it is okay for them to be upset with a friend or an event. 

Modeling the Behavior

Corresponding with support, being a role model helps children learn more about their feelings. Parents are their children’s first teacher, so when children are discovering their emotions and feelings, they look to others about how to deal with them. When you are expressing your feelings, children may follow your lead. Your listening skills are significant when encouraging discussions about feelings with children. Addiotnresonating with your children about emotion. If you can talk to your children in detail about how you deal with your emotions, then you are providing them with examples of naming their feelings, building resilience, and good mental health.  

Ways to Help Identify Emotions

  • Emotion Wheel – As mentioned, it can be hard for children to name a feeling. Using an emotion wheel to finding the right word to describe the feeling can be easier for them to identify their feelings by having if they have words in front of them. 
  • Emotion Faces – Similar to the Emotion Wheel, Emotion Faces will also help children find the word and face that to describes their feelings. The addition to having a face correlated with an emotion can make it effortless for a child to see a face that represents their feelings.  
  • Where I Feel – Whether it is challenging to choose a word or, this is can be a creative way of learning about physical symptoms and the connection to emotions. Having the child examine Examining with children where they experience each emotion is important for self-awareness in children. 
  • Emotion Thermometers – After learning to recognize their emotions, managing them with emotion thermometers is  also significant asbecause it supports children in rating how intensely they feel each emotion. 

If you and your children are struggling to identify and deal with emotions, our therapists are ready and willing to support you in exploring emotions and how to healthily express them. Feel free to reach out and call to schedule an appointment. Whether it is family or individual sessions. 


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Articles by Therapist

Written By

Bria Mccalpin

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