Teaching our children to manage their emotions is tricky. Emotional healing and mindfulness is not something we were taught. And if we were never taught it how can we teach it? Sometimes we as parents get overwhelmed with our own emotions, leading to stress, anxiety and feelings of failure.
In this blog I wanted to share some Spiritual techniques and Tools I use, collated over the years from being an Angel Teacher, holistic therapist and Reiki Master. This isn’t a one size fits all program but more of an guidance where you can pick and choose what works for you and your family.
This weekend my husband left to work offshore for a Month. Now this is always a massive trigger (understandably) for my 8 year old son. He’s a deep thinker and sensitive but around his dad he always tries to do the stiff upper lip and keep his emotions in check. But I could tell he was struggling. He was looking tired, quiet and sad. As soon as we said goodbye to my husband I could feel his energy drop to his toes in the car. When we arrived home he burst into tears. I took him inside and just held him. Those moments of sadness in an child nevermind an adult can be overwhelming and all consuming. In that moment all they can do is feel.
I realised I have never taught my child how to regulate and tap into his emotions. I know how to do it within myself and even though I teach him mindfulness I never thought of specifically focusing on his emotions. So I got to work creating an simple evening routine we could do together. I have my headspace app which has some great meditations and mindful exercises for children but you can easily search up free meditations on youtube.
If you struggle with regulating your own emotional responses it can sometimes lead to outbursts of anger or frustration. Built up emotions that we deem negative ie anger, fear and sadness can create blocks within our energy field, leading to illness, stress and anxiety. As an society this is a deeply worrying problem as this can lead to depression and suicidal thinking. What is even more worrying is that children as young as 10 are grappling with depressive thoughts.
So what steps can we take to work through our own and our child’s emotions?
Don't Deny How You or Your Child Is Feeling
I live in Scotland so the whole stiff upper British Lip thing is definitely an belief that has cascaded down to me. For so long I denied my emotions. If I ever felt this overwhelming urge to cry or get angry I would stuff it down with my other negative thoughts in the hope it would just disappear. But overtime it got worse. Much worse. Even though I had learned and studied every Spiritual Tool I could from Meditation to Crystal Healing nothing could help the pain I was feeling.
Until I stopped running away from the pain. Instead, each moment I felt overwhelmed I brought my awareness back to my body. I felt and connected to that emotion. I clarified what it was. Was it anger? Fear? Sadness? I gave it an name and then focused on where in my body it was. More often than not it was my solar plexus. Then I breathed deeply into that space and imagined what this emotion looked like. Maybe it was a big rock or a piece of glass. I then imagined sending healing light to the emotion and visualised the light dissipating it so that in its place it became an beautiful golden orb.
I started these steps with my son. Asking him how he felt, what was the emotion coming up (in his case sadness). Then I asked where in his body he felt the emotion (he said his head). We gave sadness an picture. He wanted to use a sword. Then we worked on breathing into that emotion imagining it being melted away in an beautiful white light.
Doing this technique can really help us tune into our bodies wisdom. We naturally know how to work through these emotions it’s just our head gets in the way. Your child will be the same. They know how to work through things they just need the space to be allowed to do it.
Feeling Into Your Emotions Step By Step Technique
- Notice what your emotion is. Give it a name ie fear, anger, frustration, sadness
- Feel into your body where that emotion is.
- Give your emotion an image so you can connect to it on an deeper level
- Then visualise sending healing light to that space in your body, imagining the emotions melting away
- see in it’s place an golden orb of light filled with love
When Your Emotions Are Overwhelming Move Your Body
A group of Scientists studying Polar Bears noticed something interesting. When they darted a bear so that they could safely tag them whilst they were unconscious they noticed that when the Bear came round it would start trembling all over. Then it’s legs would move as if it was still running away till it stopped and then got up, getting back to it’s daily life as an polar bear. This was noticed also in other animals that were running away from predators. They would go through the physical response ie trembling as if to allow the fear and trauma that they had went through to move through their bodies.
Our bodies hold the same wisdom. When our emotions are just too overwhelming or if your child is going through an deep moment of sadness or anger then sometimes practicing mindfulness or trying to talk through how we’re feeling doesn’t help. High emotional responses are hard to talk too. But tuning into what our body needs in that moment is easier.
Going back to how my son was overwhelmed with sadness and just started crying I allowed him the space to just cry and let these emotions bubble up to the surface. Then I got him to move his body. We went for a walk with the dogs and got him to a space of relaxation as the energy of pain and sadness began to dissipate from his body. This could be an fun thing to do with young ones as you can get them to dance around, do jumping jacks or running on the spot. If they want to scream and hit something then get them to scream into an pillow. Teach them that in those moments of overwhelm they cannot hit themselves or others but punching an pillow a few times is completely fine. I used to adore boxing for that reason.
For me personally, yoga is my go to for when I’m feeling overwhelmed and having an daily yoga practice has really helped me to regulate my own emotions. So find what works for you and have an daily movement practice that you can go back to whenever you need it.
Practice EFT (Tapping)
I never thought of teaching my son tapping but I wish I did sooner because as soon as he started moving through the EFT points he immediately felt better, lighter and calmer.
EFT is an mind-body method of tapping acupuncture points on the hands, face and body whilst focusing your awareness on an issue or feeling you want to resolve. EFT can have profound effects on reducing stress and anxiety as well as releasing emotions. I use EFT daily and love it so much it’s been my go to tool for 10 years.
I’m not an EFT practitioner (yet ;)) but I highly recommend you check out EFT therapist, Brad Yates who has created an multitude of EFT exercises over the last 12 years on his youtube channel. Link here. EFT is simple to follow and Brads videos have an exercise for nearly every emotional problem including an video specifically for children which you can find here.
When I got my son to move through each of the acupoints on his body whilst affirming positive affirmations he began yawning which is an clear indicator of releasing emotions. During therapies alot of my clients would yawn and apologise but I would tell them that is their bodies way of releasing trapped emotions. The wisdom we hold within our bodies really is incredible.
Having an Daily Practice
When it comes to regulating our own emotions as well as our child’s its better to have an daily practice that helps us tune inward. Creating an safe space for you and your child to practice how to heal and bring more self love into their mind and bodies will bring so much reward in the long run.
Every evening myself and my son about 40 mins before bed will go through our daily evening ritual to create a safe space and talk about our emotions. He will tell me how he is feeling that day and then we’ll focus on an meditation that will either help create positive energy or release negative energy. Then we will go through all the things in our lives we are grateful for and on those bad days we practice EFT.
Meditation is such an powerful tool to teach our children especially in an world surrounded by chaos and focused on immediate gratification. Meditation and mindfulness teaches our children how to tune inward, release the hooks the external world has on them and just allows them to be who they are.
So find an daily practice that works for you and your family. You may only have a few minutes here and there which is absolutely fine. Even just a couple of minutes practicing deep breathing or a quick 5 minute meditation can do wonders for your mind as well as your child’s. Also having an daily practice you both can do together without the influence of technology or anything else fosters an deeper connection so that your bond becomes that much stronger and unbreakable.