Children’s Mental Health
Long before I started Cocoro, I became passionate about helping parents & children with big feelings.
I believe if we teach children how to manage their emotions, to self-regulate, know their thoughts & feelings are valid, and communicate their needs, we can support their mental health now & in the future.
How many of us grew up believing it wasn’t ok to say “I’m not ok”? How much easier would our lives have been if we had known it was ok to have difficult feelings, to express them, and ask for help?
How can we help our children and break this cycle?
We can let them truly feel. Even when it’s heartbreaking to see. We can allow them those emotions, and instead of trying to remove the pain or fix the problem, simply be there for them.
We can make sure they don’t think anger is naughty. Many children think it is, because of the things they do when they are angry. We must of course always make boundaries known, but we can do it with kindness & understanding for the anger that a child is experiencing.
We can label emotions & talk about them so children aren’t afraid of them. We can role model by acknowledging and owning our feelings without blame or judgement.
We can respond to tantrums, meltdowns and explosions with connection and compassion. When we ignore these, we invalidate the feelings behind them. Even when – especially when – children are at their worst, this is when they need connection with us the most.
Instead of trying to change the behaviour, if we focus on connection, regulation and empathy, we can support the feelings behind the behaviour. Not only is this actually way more effective at changing the behaviour long term, it also means we are supporting emotional literacy, empathy, and self-worth.
We can help children from the tiniest of babies to teens to know we understand their big emotions, we empathise, and we can hold the space for them while they process what they are feeling.
We can make sure that children know their feelings matter, are valid, and that we want to help them. If we respond with compassion, they will know they can come to us in the future with their challenges.