You asked

I want my child to be in touch with her emotions. How can I ensure that she grows up that way?

You may have noticed that your child has somewhat of a mercurial nature. One minute, they’re the picture of happiness, giggling and smiling, and the next, they’re crying in anger and frustration, for little to no apparent reason.

Toddlers and very young children react on a very emotional level to just about everything, simply because they have yet to learn how to hide their feelings. It’s very much a case of what you see is what you get.

If you want to ensure that your child grows up with a healthy EQ, or emotional intelligence level, then it’s your job to teach them how to handle and process all those strong emotions they’re feeling.

Take the time to really listen to him or her when they expresses an emotion, and repeat what they’ve said back to them, letting them know that you’ve heard, and understood, what’s frustrating or angering him or her. Share experiences from your own life that help your child to understand that you’ve had those feelings too, and that you understand how they feels.

Teach your child the words they need to express their feelings. If they’re looking disappointed, ask them what they are feeling sad about. When they’re smiling, tell them that you’re glad they’re happy. Having the words to express emotions is an important part of being able to share, and process them. Once he or she has learned how to tell you how they are feeling, they’ll be less likely to lapse into a tantrum automatically, purely from frustration.

Then again, when they do have a tantrum because they’re overly emotional, the worst thing you can do is tell them that they’re ‘silly’ or being ‘childish.’ Validate their emotions by recognising them. Tell them that you understand that he or she is angry, frustrated or sad, and why. Then suggest a possible solution to the problem.

By teaching your children from an early age that having emotions are okay, and giving them the tools to deal with them constructively, you’re helping your child to grow up emotionally intelligent.

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