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The Happee Times

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A Letter to the Parents..

Hi dear parent,

I’d like to begin this letter by asking you, How are you doing today?

How has your day been so far?


No matter how the days have been recently, I’d like to say “Well done! You are doing an incredible job as a parent. Yes, it might not seem that way on some days but trust me! Raising a child is not easy and look at you, persevering in that race. Well, winners have some questions too and I’m here to attempt to answer those for you.


Well, there’s no rule book to parenting and hence pondering on questions like…

Why does my child not share their feeling with me?

What can I do to get my child to open up to me more?

How can I work on emotional expression and regulation with my child?

… is very normal


Before we answer these, it is essential to bring to notice how the current fast-paced world is making parents focus more on enhancing their child’s IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and showing negligence towards EQ (Emotional Quotient). Yes, a high IQ will get them into a good college and get a great job but a high EQ will help them persevere in that course, handle the inevitable stressors better, and show resilience.

An emotionally secure child has an enhanced emotional awareness. They can identify their own emotions, gain an understanding of what they’re feeling, and also find it easy to share their feelings with their close ones. They tend to express positive emotions freely as well as cope with negative emotions and tough situations in life. They are also able to change their perspective to make positive emotions last longer. At a greater level, they tend to find it easy to be able to see other people’s perspectives and show empathy.

It might sound repetitive but start with “Self-awareness”. Working on being in tune with your own emotions, being able to identify them, what hurts you, what makes you happy, communicating your feelings with your loved one, knowing how you cope with tough emotions, etc is the way to go

  • The Harry Potter spell




So, your first Harry Potter spell to start with “Modelling”. Developmental theorists have stated that children learn most through observation learning. They learn what they see and you are their role models. So, the more a parent is okay with showing their emotions and sharing their feelings with their children or those around them, the more children also learn to do the same.

  • A safe space to express




Next, we can start by providing the young ones a safe space for emotional expression. You can do this by encouraging them to talk about their feelings. Ask feeling-centered questions like “How does this make you feel? Do you feel hurt that this happened? Are you excited for your school trip?

When they do share how they feel, invite their emotions and be as non-judgemental as possible. Whether what they are saying is right or wrong, according to you, try and think from their perspective and validate their feelings. Be neutral in your facial expressions, instead of intense reactions to what they say, nod and show them that you understand.

  • All emotions are invited

An important part of validation is also allowing a free rein to feel EVERY emotion. This is something that all of us can work on. No emotion, be it anger, jealousy, or sadness, is “bad”. They are as natural as happiness, excitement, and joy. We have been conditioned for years to believe that certain emotions are inherently “bad” and make us weak. It is time we change this belief.

Teach the young ones that

it is okay to feel

it is okay to cry

it is okay to feel low

it is okay to be angry

it is okay to feel disappointed


  • Give it a name

Something that is widely used in the therapy world is Plutchik’s wheel of emotions. This wheel is a visual representation of a wide range of emotions that we experience. When you ask your child about their feelings, a typical conversation could look like this…

Parent: How was your day today?

Child: It was good.

Parent: How was your competition today?

Child: It was okay.

Parent: You guys won second place, right? That is exciting. How does that make you feel?

Child: It feels really good.

Conversations like these keep it surface level and prevent parents from getting to know their children deeply. In a situation like this, you can use Plutchik’s wheel and ask your child to give their emotion another word. This will help increase their emotional vocabulary and will also slowly help them become self-aware.

  • Simple coping lessons

Experiencing difficult emotions is not a piece of cake for anyone. Teaching our children easy coping techniques at an early age builds and strengthens their coping mechanisms for the future as well.

Helping kids learn to cope with their emotions is essential for their emotional well-being. Here are some simple techniques you can teach them:

  1. Deep Breathing: Teach them to take deep breaths when they feel upset or overwhelmed. Breathing slowly and deeply can help calm their nervous system and reduce stress.

  2. Counting: Encourage them to count slowly to 10 or even 20 when they're feeling upset. This can help distract their mind and give them time to calm down.

  3. Naming Emotions: Teach them to identify and label their emotions. By giving their feelings a name, they can better understand what they're experiencing and learn to manage them more effectively.

  4. Mindfulness: Introduce simple mindfulness exercises, such as paying attention to their breath or focusing on the sensations in their body. Mindfulness can help kids stay present and calm in difficult situations.

  5. Positive Self-Talk: Encourage them to use positive affirmations or self-talk when they're feeling upset. Help them replace negative thoughts with more positive ones, such as "I can handle this" or "I am brave."

  6. Physical Activity: Engage them in physical activities like dancing, jumping, or going for a walk when they're feeling stressed or angry. Exercise can help release pent-up energy and improve mood.

  7. Art and Creativity: Provide them with art supplies and encourage them to express their emotions through drawing, painting, or writing. Creative activities can be therapeutic and help kids process their feelings.

  8. Sensory Tools: Offer sensory tools like stress balls, fidget spinners, or textured objects that kids can use to calm themselves down when they're feeling overwhelmed.

  9. Talking it Out: Create a safe and supportive environment where kids feel comfortable talking about their feelings. Encourage them to share what's bothering them and validate their emotions.

  10. Establishing Routines: Help them establish consistent daily routines, including regular mealtimes, bedtime, and playtime. Predictability and structure can provide a sense of security and stability, which can help reduce anxiety.


Remember to model these coping techniques yourself and offer plenty of encouragement and support as they practice managing their emotions.

How to respond?

Taking into account all kinds of situations. There might be times when your child really wants to talk to you but you’re busy with some work. Leave your work and listen to them while your mind is still thinking of your work deadline or shut them out. Not a good idea!

Instead, communicate “I am here for you and I want to listen to you. Let me quickly get this done so that I can give you all my attention” and then back to them at the earliest.

Where to start?

As a strong start to this process, you can take the first step by assigning a particular time as “quality time” with your family. You can model by sharing with your children how your day was and how you’re feeling right now. Then go ahead to ask how their day was. You can help them give a label to their current emotion by using Plutchik’s wheel of emotions. While having this conversation, remember to be an active listener, show interest in whatever they share, and be as non-judgemental as possible. If you feel like giving them some parental advice during this conversation, try and keep that for later. Let them finish talking and reframe your advice by asking them if this is something that could help them.

As developmental psychology has taught us, as children grow older, they like to take charge. They find pleasure in having autonomy over their choices and actions. Hence, it could be a great idea to gently present your advice and let them make the decision. This way, the next time your child is going through something rough they might turn to you, knowing that they’ll receive some gentle advice and not be forced to act a certain way.

Think like your child, what would you have needed when you were their age? Be their support system and communicate that you’re here for them whenever they need you.

Keynote: while you try hard to be there for them, be there for yourself as well. Things like these are a process. Be patient and take one step at a time.


                                                                           Happy Parenting!

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