Emotional Processing Skills – Part II
With the exception of helping to explain which is bigger – a fruit or a plant, children of all ages and intelligence levels need help teaching themselves to process the many feelings that happen to them on a daily basis. From excited babies, yelling toddlers, sputtering preschoolers, small children acting out, and mastering motor skills such as sorting and identifying objects, children are exposed to many different feelings in daily life. This includes “feelings of rage, fear, sadness, anger, excitement, wonder, sadness, fear, fear, and pain.” Even fully autonomous 3-year-olds need help determining what emotions actually feel like. Studies have shown that children who can understand and discuss their feelings tend to grow up happier and more resilient.
There are many approaches to helping children learn to process and understand their emotions and reactions and these have been used extensively by educators and clinicians over the past few decades. Several different methods have been identified and are effective for developing solid reasoning skills. For example, the Liebmann Brain Stimulation Approach (LBS) which uses short mind control exercises may be effective in helping children to think about and process painful feelings. Studies have also shown the following techniques and methods to be effective:
Touch: The use of touch as a way to communicate and reinforce concepts will make it easier for kids to process their emotions. For example, touching yourself repeatedly will help to emotionally bring the emotion into your own physical awareness, and help kids relate the emotion to an object or feeling and how that makes them feel.
Partnership: A child’s emotions tend to be magnified when other people are involved, so creating close relationships with older siblings, parents, and teachers can be an effective way to help a child understand their emotions and develop a nuanced approach to emotions.
De-emphasize: Sometimes we need to re-frame our thinking to help teach kids the lesson. For example, images may play an important role in how we personally process information, but when we focus on those images, it becomes more difficult to know that those same images really aren’t helpful.
Mind-Controlled Activities: Using mind-controlled activities can be effective for helping children process and communicate emotions because the caretakers that are doing the activity don’t get triggered by the emotions or experience them themselves. The added benefit of this approach is that children can take the controls of the activity that are given to them.
Although the way that we communicate and process emotions can influence our overall happiness and ability to feel secure and safe in our surroundings, these skills can be taught at any time. When children are able to develop the capacity to respond differently to people and situations, they are able to improve their lives in numerous ways and work to keep their emotions in check.
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