"Teenagers need to be able to
express their feelings and be
taken seriously, just like anyone!"
Give them a chance to say what they are feeling
Parents can provide opportunities for young people to explore their feelings when they arise. Giving teens the chance to discuss their core emotions such as, anger, fear and anxiety, means they are less likely to project them through challenging behaviour.
Feelings are normal, it’s what we do with them that matters!
When children, young people and adults are given time to understand their emotions they are more able to self-regulate how they behave. This means they give themselves time to think about what they are feeling and this can often be all it takes to stop them from doing or saying something they regret.
In Somerset, parents and people who work with children and young people have been starting to use Emotion Coaching to help them explore emotions. Emotion Coaching was developed by a man call John Gottman who studied relationships. He created a 5 step process. This is how it goes.
5 Steps of Emotion Coaching
- Tune in: notice or become aware of your own and your child's emotions - Are you in a calm enough state to practice emotion coaching? This means putting the parent agenda to one side and giving compassionate attention to your child. Or do you need to do something else right now? (i.e. space for one or both of you to calm down, distract/do something else or hand parenting over to someone else that you trust)
- Connect and use this as an opportunity for you to practice and your child to learn. Say what emotions you think your child is experiencing. This will help your child's brain to make connections. Talk about the emotions without any judgement or criticism of the behaviour.
- Accept and listen: Try to step into your child's shoes with empathy.
- Reflect: What you see, hear and understand (keep it factual). Pause.....this may be enough at this stage depending on many factors, the age of your child, what happened, if they have been able to calm themselves down or if you are calm and level headed then...
- End with problem solving. How might they deal with this situation if it happens again? Where possible involve your child in problem solving, especially as they get older. This final stage might take place now or later on, depending on your child's and your own emotional state
Source; Emotion Coaching Programme, John Gottman Institute