By KIP RODGERS, Contributor A make or break life lesson (mental skill) all kids need to learn is emotional control. And guess who their first role models are in managing feelings?
How well do you model how to deal with anger and frustration? Stress? Anxiety? Sadness? Hurt?
These are normal human feelings. What do your kids see? Do you demean? Yell? Cuss? Avoid? Overindulge on food or drink? Spend? Gamble? Silent treatment? Pop a pill?
Do you discuss and solve or just tell what to do? Do you swoop in and rescue from negative feelings? Do you sit face to face and LISTEN and VALIDATE even if you disagree? Do you acknowledge feelings and display confidence in discussing and solving?
It is important for kids to see you manage these negative feelings. Narrate what you feel in a given situation and what you are choosing to do. Have your own self-control routine. There were times I told my kids I am going to my bedroom to think and I would be back to let them know the discipline.
Maybe a good workout is needed then set a designated time to talk about the issue.
Never punish in anger. Teach instead of punish. Teaching is discipline and demonstrates emotional control in the face of a problem.
And when kids struggle, rather than fix it for them, guide them towards figuring it out. Ask, ‘what do you think are some good options here?’ ‘What do you need to ask the coach?’
Responsibility is on you to role model and teach your children to appropriately manage their emotions and discuss conflicts in a respectful manner.
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Kip Rodgers — a former tackle football player with the world champion Dallas Diamonds — is a sports psychology professional and therapist-supervisor, and certified high performance coach. She has a seminary degree and raised two kids as a single mom while building a business.