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Why Should I Let My Child Struggle With Emotions?

You see your child struggle with emotions. As a parent, you want your child to be able to express their emotions in the best way possible. But you may be confused in thinking, “why should I let my child struggle with their emotions?” without your guidance. You want to attend to their needs and make sure they are feeling content and happy in life.

You probably already know that children don’t always express their emotions in the best way. Sure, they are young children, but did you know that from the moment they are born, they learn how to communicate based on your responses to their emotions? 

This could look like putting two and two together that if they increase their tantrum behavior in an attempt to obtain something, you will respond to their increased tantrum behavior by providing them with what they want. Then, they will continue to act in that way as it’s proven to get your attention.

If you continue to interfere with your child during emotional moments, they may learn to become dependent on you and look for you in comfort rather than themselves.

Child struggle with emotions during play needing child therapy in Simi Valley, Ca 93063

Of course, you want to provide your child with comfort and love – and you definitely should. In some moments of your child struggling with their emotion, you have the power to guide them through breathing exercises or speaking to them in a way to help them understand what’s going on, such as “Are you upset I didn’t buy you this toy?”.

Although your natural instinct is to jump up and help them calm down, you may actually be hindering their ability to self regulate. Children need to learn that it’s not the end of the world to be having a fit. And they don’t necessarily need immediate help. 

By going through the waves of the emotion from start to finish, they will understand that they can endure it. At the end of their storm, they will feel calm and see that everything ended up ok. 

Our Child therapists in Simi Valley, Ca are able to understand the root of your child’s emotions and help them navigate through them. 

Why let a child struggle with emotions: They will strengthen self awareness

Your child will be able to identify their emotional state of mind, whether it be that they are angry, upset, or frustrated. From there, they will be able to express themselves better.

child drawing as coping mechanism from having a tantrum over snacks

As a parent, you have the power to help them learn about their emotions and what they truly mean. You can help them identify what’s coming up for them after an upsetting or sad event.

This can look like being frustrated that they cannot stay up and play anymore, and need to start getting ready for bed. Maybe they have a fit thinking about putting toys down and needing to brush their teeth. You can help them identify what’s upsetting them about this.

In the midst of a tantrum, get down to your child’s level and teach them about what’s going on. Help them identify what’s going on. Are they crying or screaming? Briefly let them know that it appears they are feeling angry, or upset about something. Then, continue to let them figure it out.

With your brief guidance, your child will remember what you told them about their feelings. The next time they have a tantrum, they will be able to understand the emotion that comes up. Children are quick and smart learners. 

By learning what emotions are and what they mean, they will have a better time understanding them.

When your child sits with their uncomfortable emotions, they will draw connections to how they started. Identifying their emotion is the first step in the process of letting them struggle. You may interfere to help them in being self aware about their emotions, but do not take over for the next steps. 

young boy enjoying playing a puzzle and working through a hard feeling of stress

There are ways that they can express their emotions without having a tantrum.  With your support, they can learn these coping mechanisms.

WHY LET A CHILD STRUGGLE WITH EMOTIONS: They will learn coping mechanisms 

Children find comfort in having their parents come to their rescue in times of distress. They like having a parent to be there to give them a hug and calm them down. But, your child may develop a dependency on needing your comfort to calm down. 

Being able to sit with difficult emotions shows them that they can get through it. Now that they are able to identify what emotion they are experiencing, they can go onto the next step. Coping with the experience. 

You can help your child identify healthy coping mechanisms for self-regulating their emotions. By offering examples of some steps they can take to calm their emotions, they will be able to incorporate them into their daily lives. 

Without having parents resolve their issues for them, your child will become more independent in these moments. A few coping mechanisms they can learn would be breathing exercises, such as stopping to take slow, deep breaths. Another coping mechanism could be to write or draw their feelings down. Help provide them with the vocabulary to directly explain themselves.

This can look like your child identifying a moment of anxiety or stress, and openly communicating through a direct statement to you. You can then empathize with them about how hard that sounds, and give a gentle reminder about some ways they can calm themselves down. 

Set up an area designated for them to cool down rather than a time out. This can look like sitting in the playroom, backyard, or bathtub. These areas will be seen as a comfort spot for managing big feelings. 

In child therapy in Simi Valley, Ca, child therapists provide coping mechanisms for children to be present with themselves in the moment of distress.

WHY LET A CHILD STRUGGLE WITH EMOTIONS: They will learn to be more open about big feelings

happy boy feeling confident after playing with some toy airplanes feeling satisfied with himself

Maybe your child is hesitant to ask for help directly because they are unsure what emotions they are feeling. They may want to disregard that discomfort and come to you to resolve the issue.

When they are able to identify their feelings and come up with healthy coping mechanisms, it will be easier to communicate what happened. When they are unable to understand what’s going on, they may sit there and cry or scream until someone comes to the rescue. 

Children can feel very proud and content about themselves when they accomplish something. Overcoming a tough emotional situation is a big deal. It’s something they will be proud of. To experience something negative, like wanting to throw a tantrum, but are able to redirect themselves, they will feel confident.

Increasing children’s confidence is a major aspect in helping them feel secure in themselves. They will feel competent in having the tools they need to succeed. When the next big feeling comes their way, your child will be prepared. And you will be satisfied knowing that they got this.

Consider seeking a child psychologist in Ventura County, Ca, to provide even more support and guidance.

About Simi Psychological Group

At our therapy practice in Simi Valley, Ca we offer Child therapy and family counseling, Teen therapy, Anxiety Treatment, Depression Therapy, Marriage Counseling, and Neuropsychological Testing. Now Offering Online Therapy in Los Angeles and Online Counseling Ventura County 

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