Emotions and what they mean for you.

Congratulations to me!  I’m now the proud co-owner of a tween.  My happy, well-adjusted child has begun to be a little stormy around the edges of late, a little more “up and down.” This surprised me, even though I knew it shouldn’t have.  The emotions, the tears.

My instant response to tears is, “Don’t cry”, in my head when it is my tears and out loud to my children.  Sometimes said in a kind and compassionate way and sometimes in a more, “Oh, get over it, your hair is not THAT important, stop crying” way.  This generally has the opposite effect of turning a trickle into a flood.  Whilst in the past I’ve focused on other competencies, I now really want to ensure my children have the resilience to navigate life’s challenges successfully

First, I’m heeding Dr. Becky Bailey’s advice from Conscious Discipline, which emphasises the importance of self-regulation in the adults around a child as the foundation for a successful life.  I understand that being a mindful and composed adult is crucial for my children’s sense of security.

Second, I gather from the vast source of wisdom held within my friends and family.  I’m blessed in that I started having my children later in life.  Many of my friends are way ahead of me in the parenting game.

Third, I’m researching everything I can about calm.  Here’s what I’ve discovered so far:

Values: My partner and I have worked relentlessly to instil strong values in our girls, which will serve as a compass during challenging times.  Dr Susan David suggests that our emotions signal our values and what is important to us.  I want to understand this more, and I’ll probably share what I learn as I progress.  This also means helping them to take out their values, take a good look and understand whether they are values that bring life to them and to others. 

Emotional agility: Dr. Susan David’s concept of emotional agility struck a chord with me.  When I read this, “When we push aside what we perceive as “bad feelings,” we may inadvertently shame children out of emotions seen as negative, jump to a solution, and fail to help them to see these emotions as inherently valuable”, it crushed me to start with.  All my “don’t cry” and “toughen up kid” was not helping my children or myself to be emotionally agile. 

More:  We continually teach the children to be aware of their place in the world and to not pursue more “stuff”.  After I read Chris Bailey’s book, “How to Calm Your Mind,” I realised we’d only been focused on teaching them not to pursue GETTING MORE but not taught them about the pursuit of DOING MORE and how that can be totally disruptive to one’s calm.  I’ve not been so good at this myself.  Someone said to me the other day, “How would we feel if we were put through an intense 8 hours and then required to put in another few hours of intensity every day?  And yet we do it to our kids and expect them not to get burnt out!”  So true.  I will be less quick to disregard my kids’ “Enough” in future. 

Why am I sharing these insights about my kids?  Because I believe they apply equally, if not more so, to us adults.  We’ve spent years practicing behaviours that don’t serve us well.  It’s our responsibility to learn and model better ways of handling emotions and stress so we can break the cycle and guide the next generation toward emotional intelligence and well-being.  That’s why I’ve built them into my coaching offerings, these things are critical to creating an environment where your strengths can shine and you can thrive.

I wish you calm in the storm.

About the Wayfinders' Blog

The Wayfinders’ Blog helps individuals, teams and organisations discover and develop their unique strengths. I provide valuable insights and practical tips to my audience empowering them to develop their talents into strengths and achieve their goals.

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