Teaching Children to Express Their Feelings

Teaching Children to Express Their Feelings

Ask any young child how he or she is feeling and you’re likely to get one of the following three answers: happy, sad, or angry. Forget about excited, frustrated, or ashamed…children don’t experience those feelings.

Okay, okay, so I’m being a bit facetious. Children use “happy,” “sad,” and “angry” to describe their feelings because these are the three most common terms used to describe feelings. Children can’t quite articulate the various “off-shoots” associated with these feelings.

•Instead of using words such as excited, cheerful, pleased, or relaxed, children simply say that they are happy.

•Instead of using words like annoyed, irritated, frustrated, or jealous, children tend to identify as being angry.

•Instead of labeling themselves as depressed, lonely, disappointed, or ashamed, children say that they are sad.

As a parent, there is a huge benefit to teaching your children the various words for different feelings as well as what they mean. A child that can express the appropriate feeling can also manage that feeling much more effectively. Role-playing can be a very effective way of teaching these “feelings” to your child.

Here is a list of feelings that children should be able to describe or explain (besides the typical “happy, sad, and angry”).

Embarrassed
Ashamed
Worried
Lonely
Excited
Irritated
Frustrated
Bored
Jealous
Anxious
Disappointed
Restless
Overwhelmed
Relieved
Depressed
Proud
Afraid

Feel free to look these up in the dictionary if you need help explaining them to your child. Also, feel free to come up with additional “feelings” to add to this list.

Ask your children about something that would make them experiencel each of these feelings.

Also ask them to discuss the last time they felt each of these feelings. This is a great way to spend quality time with your child teaching him or her a valuable life lesson.