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Helping your kids manage their emotions

Helping kids transition to life after the pandemic
Posted at 2:08 PM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 13:57:27-04

(NBC 26) — Many of us are guilty of doing it, when we're upset or anxious, we try to bury those emotions to help us get through whatever is going on. While we know where those feelings are coming from, the same can't be said about our kids.

"One of the things that parents often times unconsciously do is dismiss our kids feelings," said Brook Berg, the Program Manager for Family Engagement and Relationships for UW-Extension.

Emotions may be running high for many kids these days, with going to school in-person, or virtual, or both; and no parent likes to see their kids anxious or upset. As a parent, many try to overcompensate for those feelings. Berg said this means trying to help our kids get rid of uncomfortable feelings.

"If our kiddos are feeling anxious or angry or really upset, we try to talk them out of that and show them all of the positive things.:

Berg adds, while this isn't a bad idea, it's not the only thing you can do. She said they tell families three things, starting with acting as your child's emotion coach to help them identify their feelings.

"The next is just validating it," she said. "Saying, 'Yup, I'd be really upset too if I couldn't see my friends and I understand why you feel that way,' and really validating whatever they're feeling. So often we try to talk them out of feeling that. Then, the next one is problem solve and walk through, 'So we understand you're really angry you can't be in school 5 days a week. So how do we get past that and what can we do together to make it an ok situation.'"

Berg also said if talking isn't helping, maybe try writing or drawing it out. But the advice doesn't stop here if you're looking for something more on how to talk with your kids and parent through their emotions. Parenting...Behind the Behavior is a video series by UW-Extension's Human Development and Relationships Institute. They have a number of short, research-based videos to help answer your questions about what to do right now.

"We did get a lot of shares on the two we've done about race," Berg said. "So how to talk to your kids about race and how to talk to your kids about skin color."

A new video as a part of this series is posted every Thursday at noon. You can find more on their Facebook page, just click here.