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Expert GuidanceManaging Difficult Emotions

Managing Difficult Emotions

Coping with uncertainty can be especially tough for kids. Help them work through their feelings with tips from kids mindfulness expert Samantha Snowden.

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I'm Samantha, a kids and family mindfulness expert. The current circumstances we face results in everyone dealing with an array of new and different emotions. Dealing with uncertainty is hard for all of us and it can be especially difficult for children, which makes this an especially challenging time to be a parent, teacher, or caregiver of any kind. Today, I'll share a few tips to help you and your kids work through difficult emotions with empathy and compassion. But first let's do a short meditation. Welcome back. Let's dive right in. One of the most important things you can do is approach your children's difficult emotions with curiosity by asking questions and listening. It's important children understand that sadness, anger, and frustration actually have a purpose in our lives. These difficult emotions signal to us that something valuable is under threat or an important need of ours isn't being met. If you try to quickly get your child to move on or distract them from uncomfortable feelings, it may make them more likely to avoid or suppress that feeling in the future rather than acknowledging what's going on and investigating why it's happening. When your child is experiencing a really difficult emotion, it's important to deeply listen and learn about your child's emotional experience before trying to distract them from it. Today, I'll be sharing a tool you can use to help the children in your life develop a healthy and more mindful relationship with their difficult feelings. We can use four steps represented by the acronym RAIN, which stands for recognize, accept, investigate, and non-identification. So we'll start with R. The first step is helping your child recognize the difficult emotion they're feeling by helping them name or label the emotion. Acknowledge what they're feeling by checking in with them and asking things like, "It seems like you're frustrated. Is that true?" By asking questions and helping your children to elaborate on their feelings you're creating an open stance to process difficult emotions. It's important to help them identify the emotions they're feeling so that they get in the habit of naming the emotions themselves. A stands for accept. The next step is to help them accept the emotion and this isn't always easy. This is especially true when dealing with difficult emotions like anger or frustration. Often children don't wanna accept that their feeling this way. So even if your child has a hard time accepting their feeling, you can bring acceptance to whatever level they're at in the moment. Invite your child to mirror you as you place your hand on your heart and say, "Let's try accepting that we don't like this feeling." I stands for investigate. Next, you can help the child investigate how the difficult emotion feels in their body. The goal is to get them in the habit of stopping to notice how their body reacts to different emotions. You might invite them to place their hand on different parts of the...


TypeExpert Guidance
Duration4 min

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  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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