What should I do?
I’m watching my little one running down the soccer field when she trips and falls. My breath catches, and I watch what feels like a slow-mo reel of her falling to the ground and then beginning to cry hysterically. I rush to her side as the game stops. She’s crying so hard; she must really be hurt!
“Are you okay, honey? Let me see,” I implore her. She makes eye contact and points to her knee. I look, while asking, “Can you bend it?” She nods, but the tears are still coming. I help her off the field and get an ice-pack.
A few minutes later I ask, “How’s it feeling? Do you want to keep playing?” The tears that had subsided return. She says, “I want to go home!”
I agree, hesitantly, assuming her knee must be hurt badly, but an hour later she’s running around the backyard. When I try to talk to her about the game, she says, “I’m never playing again!”
“But what happened? You love soccer!” I inquire, anxiously.
“I’m not going to play anymore!” she says.
How do you help your child with their feelings?
Moments like these can be common with children who demand the most from themselves. If something bad happens, they struggle to rebound and reassert themselves. This can be a sign of anxiety, but, more importantly, it’s a sign that a child’s fear is getting in the way of their enjoyment of life.
As a parent, these can be challenging waters to navigate alone. Our own feelings and beliefs often inform how we approach our child, and this can lead to hitting a roadblock with our kids. Sensing our response to their feelings, they may act out or shutdown without ever really getting in touch with their own thoughts and feelings.
With younger children, they may even struggle to put into words how they are feeling about something. While we may see their response in their play and other behaviors, we may feel helpless as parents.
Many parents believe that they are not the best person to teach their child a new skill – even if they themselves are expert in something. When they sit down to teach their own child, they find that they both end up feeling frustrated and progress is limited.
Societally, we are taught that we need to meet the emotional needs of our children. While we nurture, love, and care for the child while modeling emotional coping, we can’t always teach our children how to recognize and use their emotions in a thoughtful manner.
Therapy allows you to collaborate with your child about their feelings, but also gives them a place where they can create an ally to learn how to manage their emotions. Sessions may be more directive for teaching your child new skills, but many sessions also incorporate play and creativity as a means of building rapport, providing catharsis, and exploring new ways of coping.
At Aspire, we share the therapeutic process with parents, so parents can support their child in all their aspirations.
Help your child feel confident and self-assured. Schedule an appointment today.