In this post I wanted to share a simple way in which you can explain to your child that strong feelings are a normal part of life, and nothing to be afraid of.
Have you ever noticed that young children can get really stressed when they feel anger? Suddenly their little bodies are filled with a powerful force that seems to take over, and they have no idea what to do with the energy of it.
I see it in my daughter, who is four, often.
I think as parents we sometimes think we have to teach our children how to ‘manage’ anger. But what if we could take it a step further and show them what anger really is? That way they would understand it, and not feel it was something they had to manage and fear.
Kids are very visual and imaginative. Using their imaginations to help them understand is much more powerful that simply ‘telling’ them.
A useful way to help them understand anger is to use the analogy of the weather.
The weather is the perfect example of what our inner world looks like. When at peace, our mind is like a clear, still blue sky. No wind. No clouds. No noise.
But when we are angry, our mind is like a stormy sky. Wind whips through, lightning flashes, and thunder roars.
When there is a storm outside we don’t try and control it. We know that, left alone, it will pass. Once it does, the sky will once again be clear, still and blue.
I told my daughter the other day that was what was happening to her when she was angry – a storm was blowing through her mind, and that it was noting to be afraid of. It was interesting watching her digest my words and I know that even at the tender age of four, it made sense to her.
Just to show how quickly children understand this, a few days later when I was feeling angry about something, my daughter said to me ‘Mumma, you have a big storm in your head. Please go away, I don’t want you to give me your storm.’
Helping children understand their feelings better empowers them to understand others.