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E for Emotions

How can I help my child control their emotions?

Parents come to me saying their child is unable to control their emotions. They can’t self-regulate. They’re worried that their son or daughter is an overly emotional child. Parents ask me A LOT of questions about emotions. How do I help my child control their emotions? How do I help my child regulate their emotions? How do you empower them to manage their emotions so they can change how they feel for the better? 

So emotion, a posh word for feelings. And that's what happiness is, isn't it? Happiness is a feeling. And so many of us adults are waiting for a reason to be happy. And that sounds a little bit weird. We're waiting for a reason to be happy. What I mean by that is we have this recurring thought in our head: I'll be happy when…

So for me as a teenager, I'll be happy when I've got a good-looking girlfriend. Or I'll be happy when the exams are over. Or I'll be happy when I get my place at university. Or I'll be happy when I've got everything settled down, I've got everything sorted. And I've got my house. And I've got my career sorted and, you know, I'm moving along in my career and making an impact. So I went into the family business. I had that the idea from when I was very young. The idea was in my head that I would go into that family business and then eventually take over – from the age of eight.


So we're all looking at when I'll be happy: when I've lost a little bit of lockdown weight, when I can go on holiday next year to Greece because our holidays to Greece this year have been cancelled, obviously because of Corona. I'll be happy when I have that, we all have some degree of that. And what that ‘when’ is, is different for all of us. So we all have a different hamster wheel if you like. We're on the hamster wheel. Going through life thinking we'll be happy when. 

Contrast that with kids. They don't need any reason to be happy at all today. I mean, sure, they're looking forward to seeing their friends and more when the lockdown eases further, but they don't really need that reason to be happy.  And somewhere on the road along the way, we will pick up the idea that happiness is outside us. And that we'll be happy when something happens. And all that changes from minute to minute, changes from year to year, changes as we as we get older. 

Here's the truth though. Every feeling, every good feeling that you've ever wanted, and your child has ever wanted, is lying right within you now and we wait for an excuse to let it out. Because emotions come, as one of my mentors Richard Wilkins says, emotions come from us, not to us. From us, they come out of us, they don't come to us. 

It looks like the world outside causes us happiness. So I'll be happy when I get that promotion. I'll be happy when I lose that weight. I'll be happy when I get that new car. I'll be happy when I get to go on holiday. I'll be happy when it looks like that. Outside. That event is going to make us release that happiness. But that happiness is always within us any one time.

So what's stopping us letting that feeling out? Well, that's something we all have, that voice in our head that says that we're not good enough. We all have that voice in our head that says that things should be better. We should be a better parent, we should be a better husband, a better wife, a better brother, a better sister, and all that. That's what gets in the way of us letting the feeling of happiness and perhaps looking in the wrong place for it, you know, if we're looking for it outside, when it's inside, we're never going to find it. So I'm going to leave you that with to mull over. Because kids do what we do, not what we say. 

It's often said that parents are as happy as their least happy child. I think it works the other way around as well. So by ignoring the rubbish in your head you're going to be a role model to your kids. So if for no other reason than that, don't listen to the voice in your head. What if that opinion, that voice in your head that says that you're not good enough and that you need to wait for X to happen for you to be happy? What if that's wrong? It's not the truth. It's not the essence of who you are. You weren't born with that voice in your head. So it's not you. It's not you and it's not true. So, go ahead, let some good feelings out today and be role models for the people that you love in life. Let out those great emotions like happiness and just well, feeling good. We all want to feel good, so emotions are where life’s at. Good emotions making us feel good.

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