Our emotions—our feelings–are what make us human. Something very important to understand is that feelings are neither right nor wrong. Also, feelings are personal, yet everyone experiences similar kinds of feelings. So, while we are unique and distinct in how we experience our own feelings, we also share similarities with others. And this is important to understand: we are so wonderfully alive and responsive to what’s going on in our lives that we can have several different feelings in a day.
Beginning at a very young age, children experience emotions. Kids can feel sad, happy, angry and fearful. It’s not unusual for children to not always understand their emotions or to know how to express them. Typically, it’s around age six when we expect kids to be developing “emotional regulation.” Learning how to talk about feelings—learning a “feelings vocabulary”—is something that caring adults can teach kids. Once youngsters can put a name on what they are feeling, they are better to communicate. They can tell others what’s troubling them. As adults, we know how relieved we feel when we can share something and it’s the same for kids.
Resilient Children shows adults how to help kids accept and express their emotions. Additionally, learning how to manage disturbing or harsh emotions is an additional skill learned through role-playing and behavioral rehearsal.