There are an unlimited amount of behaviors that we all use to get through life. There are finite number of emotions within us (i.e. Fear, Anger, Sad, Disgust and Joy). These five core emotions (we have many names to describe them and the various levels of intensity) are the driving forces of our behaviors. Appreciating that emotions drive as well as prioritize how and when information is processed within our brains can intuitively shift the way we understand and respond to the behaviors exhibited by our children. Learning the relational power of validating emotions is a strategy parents learn to use at PACE Place.
Validating emotions: One of the single most effective ways to help ANYONE learn to navigate their emotions is to validate them. Emotions are NOT behaviors. They are feelings. They are with us at birth and remain with us our entire lives. Unlike behaviors, emotions are never right or wrong. Unlike behaviors, emotions are neither be good or bad. Emotions exist on a continuum between easy and hard to regulate. The more we relate to our children through their emotions and our own throughout our daily interactions the more at ease we become with talking about how we feel. Learning to validate and normalize emotions is a powerful way to put children at ease. It is important to limit the role emotions have to determine whether or not an activity was to occur. However, we SHOULD allow our children’s emotional responses to influence HOW we do something.
Suggestion for the month:
Seeing behavior through the emotional lens: Over the course of the next month observe your own and other’s behaviors and consider which emotions are driving those behaviors. As you gain insight as to the emotional forces driving the behaviors you are observing you may start to feel an intuitive ability to respond and/or engage others AND yourself more creatively.