Categorized | Child Psychology

Bust Bad Moods: How to Help Your Child Cope Positively With Negative Emotions

Every child has a trigger: what’s your child’s? What gets that smile to turn upside down? What causes your child’s tantrums and power struggles? If you are finding it hard to deal with a childhood conflict, here are some ways you can turn into a can-do situation:

Learning a new skill:

Your child may feel frustrated and disappointed, especially when he or she doesn’t get a particular skill right. He or she may also withdraw when overcome with failure and guilt for not being good enough or not learning quickly. Here are ways you can address this issue:

  • Help your child get organized. If your little one seems to have trouble keeping up with his or her belongings, help him or her by creating labels and color coding items in the closet or drawers. Organizing helps your child gain more control at his or her own pace.
  • Take it slowly and know when to stop. You want to encourage your child, but learning a skill requires a lot of patience, an example you should be providing. Don’t push it – stop before he or she starts getting frustrated. Remind your little one there’s always another day to practice again.
  • Remind your child that it’s okay to make mistakes. Do not be rigid especially if you don’t want to see your little one melting down or giving up altogether.

Getting dressed:

This can be power struggle, especially for very young children. It’s not just about getting the buttons in the right holes – it’s also about picking their own clothes.

  • Give your child control. Hang a few outfits for him or her to choose from.
  • Help out. Get your child to zip up and button up the right way, so you don’t have to redo everything and waste time. Say something like, “I’ll do the first button, and you can do the next one.”
  • Choose clothes carefully when shopping. Don’t make your child’s life difficult with complicated bows, zips, pins and the link. Choose clothes with zippers or Velcro.

Sharing and playing:

Young children may be selfish, even when you teach them to share. When bringing your child to the playground or to a play date, negative emotions may arise from fighting with other kids, accidents, and having to share.

  • Don’t humiliate the child. When your child fights with another, don’t shout at him or her because this will only embarrass the child and make him or her think that you aren’t on his or her side. Instead, sit your child down and talk it out, gently reminding him or her to be nice.
  • Plan in advance. Pack your child’s bag with extra toys and snacks, so there will be opportunity to share.
  • Set boundaries. Tell your child that if he or she acts up, then you guys are immediately off the slides and homebound.

Banishing Bad Mood:

It doesn’t matter what ticks your little one off. It may be waking up on the wrong side of the bed, a tummy ache, or not getting what he or she wants. Whatever the cause of a pout is, here are some ways you can deal:

  • Acknowledge. Getting your child know that you are understand his or her feelings will make it easier for him or her to talk it out. Verbalize your observations and offer something comforting. For example, you can say “I can see that you are a little grumpy today, can a kiss from Mommy make it better?” to get started.
  • Be funny. Pull on silly faces, funny songs, and goofy ideas to get your sour-faced child to smile. It’s a great distraction, as well as a wonderful way to ease the tension.
  • Reverse roles. Instead of finding solutions for your child, help him or her think it through. Say, “My day’s not going well, too. Can you help me think of something that can make it all better?”

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