F for Feelings

How can I help my child manage their feelings?

Parents come to me for help teaching their child to identify, express and manage their emotions. They ask at what at what age can a child control their emotions. Their child is unable to regulate their emotions. They want pointers on teaching their child to manage their emotions. So they feel great.

We’re all looking out for those great feelings. This article is all about feelings. That's what we're going to discuss today. So we all want to feel good. And that's the ultimate aim that we're always looking for. We just want to feel good. So why don't we feel good? And as soon as I start to question, I start thinking about the things in my life that aren't going to plan. They'll send me down a rabbit hole, looking for all the reasons things aren't quite right. And it's going to start into a spiral. That's what it does, doesn’t it? But are you happy? No. But how are you feeling? Well, I put on a bit of weight because I haven't been swimming. I can't go and see my friends today.

 

But there’s a bigger reason that we're not feeling good. There's a bigger reason than that. The simple reason is because we're not choosing. We would always choose to feel good. And we would choose to be grateful about what we've got, rather than worrying about what we haven't. And we would choose, if we were given the choice, we would choose to be happy with our lot. 

So we're not choosing as adults, we're not choosing and the greatest gift that we can give to kids is that ability to choose. They seem to be actually better at that than us adults. Don't they do better than us at squeezing the small stuff? So as adults we have something to learn from the kids, we're not choosing how we feel most of the time. 

I'm not choosing how I feel when I get cheesed off in a traffic jam – not too many traffic jams in Coronavirus. I wouldn't choose to get impatient in the swimming pool when there's a – I swim quite fast, and if there's an older lady in front of me kind of slowing me down and I'm getting impatient and just getting on with it, you know, I want to get on with it. I wouldn't choose to feel like that. 

So we're not actually choosing how we feel most of the time. So what is - well it's not us that’s choosing is it? That's for sure. And it's the rubbish that we've accumulated over the years. You know, the idea that for example, we have to be somebody, achieve something to be somebody. We don't look at boy baby and say, ‘You need a Rolex to be happy’, or ‘You need to achieve your career dreams to be happy’. Or, ‘You need to be thin or strong and muscly to be happy’. And even, ‘You need to own a house to be happy’. We pick up all this rubbish from the world around us, like the advertisers. They say, ‘Buy this product and then you can be happy’. They know that we are emotionally driven. And the psychologists call this conditioning, I'm not actually a big fan of psychology because psychology is so much about thinking. The new-born baby who is perfect, the child who is perfect are blank slates, not thinking a lot, not thinking about a lot at all. 

That's where our perfection lies, in that space before thought, before the conditioning: who we truly are. So, the conditioning is the idea that we need to DO something to BE good. The need to be somebody. And yeah, when you grow up, you know, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ That’s loaded with the idea that you're not somebody and that you're not perfect already. So deeper today perhaps, but kids find it very easy to choose how they feel. And in my experience as adults, again as my experience goes, we find it a lot harder to choose or we find it harder to see that perfection within ourselves because our conditioning has been built up over the years. So if you think of one of my favourite analogies, that is the diamond, the fact that we're all born perfect and whole and then sh!t happens and that obscures the diamond. It OBSCURES the diamond but doesn't CHANGE the diamond and it doesn't scratch the diamond because diamonds are the strongest thing, the strongest substance known to man. That's the diamond metaphor from a mentor of mine, a guy called Michael Neill. He's a fantastic mentor. You are a diamond. Your child is a diamond. We all are. And covered in that mud, seeing who we truly are. We don't need DO anything to be perfect. We don't need to achieve anything to feel good. Diamonds shine just because they are diamonds, just by the very virtue of who they are, like a new born baby. 

So if you're not feeling good, it's not you and you're not choosing.  So if you could choose – again, another fantastic mentor of mine Richard Wilkins and Liz Ivory – if you could choose you would choose different most of the time. So it's not your fault. You know, personal development has this old thinking that it's our fault if we're not feeling good. Well, it isn't your fault because, you know, choosing. If this makes any sense at all, even if it doesn't, give me a call or drop me an email at Simon@Simonbenn.co.uk. I would love to help you choose more of your feelings more of the time. So you can show your child how to choose their feelings too. And feel good.

Simon Benn Children's Happiness Expert

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