Who to help your child process their emotions

Do you remember yourself or your children struggling to control their emotions? Sometimes life could be so unfair.

Some children – and probably a lot of adults too – need a way to unload their emotions. If your child or grandchild is upset or angry and is unable to talk about it, ask them to write their feelings down on paper or in a journal. They can express themselves through words or drawings.

If they choose to share it (and don’t automatically assume they will), tell them they can post what they’ve written like a letter by popping it under your pillow, and that you will write back. You can see what is going on – or their perspective on it, anyway – and you can post back your expression of love and support.

Here’s the thing – don’t be surprised if they don’t ‘post the letter’ to you. Like I discovered in an old diary of mine from decades ago, the mere act of writing it all out might be all the processing they need to do. Could they text you instead of writing? I suppose so, but something romantic in me still likes the idea of the emotion flowing onto paper and being captured there. And you never know – they may read it again in 40 years’ time and smile – like I did.


By John Cowan, The Parenting Place

Improving and equipping families to thrive.

Read more from John and The Parenting place here.