When Feelings Overwhelm: How to Help a Child
Feelings. I deal with them daily as a therapist. We all deal with them daily as human beings. Feelings have the ability to enhance our lives. They also have the knack to detract from our lives, when left unchecked, when overwhelming and when we don't have the right tools to deal with them.
The Good News
The good news is that tools do exist to deal with every shade of feeling we can experience. These are tools we can teach our kids. I've spent my career developing and honing these tools. And I've also seen firsthand how these tools transform lives.
See the "feelings mountain" shared on the post graphic? I've been making those for years with kids. It depicts what is shown to the world, but what is up underneath it all, too. It's a great visual to help kids identify that they have a variety of feelings swirling around inside of them. The feelings in this graphic are REAL feelings, as experienced by an elementary student just recently. The student dictated the feelings while I added them to the mountain. Our kids can experience a sense of overwhelm with feelings. They look to us for help. We can totally help them with this! You can't punish a kid out of a feeling...you can only support him and give him a new, better way to cope. This is why we're starting out our list with books that support adults in raising and caring for children.'
"You can't punish a kid out of a feeling...you can
only support him and give him a new,
better way to cope."
Here's a closer look at Feelings Mountain:
And speaking of Feelings Mountain, it's interesting to note that Dr. Lynne Kenney has a bit of different twist with her Anger Mountain:
Getting our own stuff together is the ONLY way we can help our kids get theirs together. Really. Get a new sense of calm and begin to see yourself "in your child's corner". You are not pitted against your child. Your child is always doing the very best he or she can. Learn how to control your reactions and develop a whole new kind of relationship with your child. A harmonious home does wonders for ALL!
Learn how to control your reactions and develop
a whole new kind of relationship with your child.
It's why Dr. Lynne Kenney and I wrote BLOOM: 50 Things to Say, Think and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top Kids. We'll start off there:
Coming Soon! (2015)
2. Also, check out Dr. Kenney's "Family Coach Method". Dr. Lynne does not disappoint.
3. The Gentle Parent by LR Knost. Available on Kindle. Read it. That is all. See what we had to say about it here.
(PS...You don't need a Kindle Device to read a Kindle book. We tell you all about how to read a Kindle book right from your computer or mobile device right here!)
4. If I Have to Tell You One More Time by Amy McCready. My youngest took that exact stance depicted on the cover of Amy's book when he was a younger child. I guarantee you that we did not help him break that habit by yelling, punishing or time-outs. Not even close. More about that, later. McCready's book offers you a respectful, relationship-based way to help your child cooperate.
This can be tricky. Kids with anxiety present with a variety of concerns: it can look like fear/worry, oppositionality, anger and more. Once you know you are dealing with anxiety, there are many ways to support a child.
5. Anxious Thoughts. This printable can help kids who are old enough to write about what their thoughts are. For the younger crowd, simply have *+them draw pictures of things that trouble them. This printable could also be used for angry thoughts, happy thoughts or just about any thoughts someone could have!
6-61. Worry Warriors. We compiled this list of support strategies a while back. It has been one of our most viewed posts EVER! Anxiety and anger are two of our most searched topics! (PS...I didn't count wrong...the post above actually has MORE than 50 activities!)
68. Lori Lite's Stress Free Kids is a NOT-TO-BE-MISSED book! Yours truly has a chapter in the book about helping grieving children. More to follow on this book in a future post!
122. Worry Woos: Fuddle: Dealing with Confusion. Any of the boxed sets by the Worry Woos is worth every single penny. Quality and genius all wrapped up in a cute kids' product that help with coping skills and self-regulation. Woo~t! Plus, the Woos are past recipients of the Kidlutions Preferred Product Awards for Social Emotional Development. If you use their products, we think you'll agree!
Printables on Anger, Self-Esteem, Divorce, Grief, Friendship and MORE! FREE!
123-137. Our FREE printables to help with a variety of feelings!
138-156. Books that help with ANGER.
157. Kimochis. Have no fear (or go right ahead and feel it if you do)! The Kimochis are here and they can help you deal with any feeling imaginable. I adore the Kimochis and they are also a recipient of our Kidlutions Preferred Product Awards for Social Emotional Development.
158. And for hundreds more resources on dealing with feelings, see our FEELINGS and PLAY THERAPY boards on Pinterest!
How do you help kids deal with feelings?