The first skill to teach your child is the many emotions we all experience. Don’t assume that just because your child shows some emotions he has a good understanding of them. A simple and fun tool for learning feelings is to hang a poster in her room of feeling faces. Most children and teens enjoy finding their feelings on the poster. You will know if your child is gaining understanding about feelings when she begins to use feeling words in her talk. When you hear her say, “I was so mad today!” or “Daddy, that hurts my feelings,” you know she is attending to her emotions and seeking to share them with you.
The next phase is to teach a more advanced lesson in feelings by introducing the range of intensity of various feelings. When we are angry we can be irritated, annoyed, mad, furious, or rageful, depending on how intense we feel. When we are happy we can be pleased, content, excited, thrilled, or ecstatic. Learning these labels can help children learn to assess the depth or intensity of their feelings, which can help guide their choices in how they will display and control their feelings.
Feelings, Positive and Negative