Mom, Daughter and dog walking in the woods

How to Talk about Feelings: 10-conversation-starters

We’ve all been affected by the loving, and the wounding aspects of the relationships in our lives. Brain expert Deborah McNelis from Brain Insights reminds us that, “Humans are biologically designed for relationships.†That statement reminds me that feelings are a part of our everyday life, and part of every relationship we have.

Every human being has wounds from childhood. An article in Psychology Today written by Andrea Brandt Ph.D. M.F.T. says, “Children make meaning out of the events they witness and the things that happen to them, and they create an internal map of how the world is. This meaning-making helps them cope. But if the children don’t create a new internal map as they grow up, their old ways of interpreting the world can damage their ability to function as adults.â€Â 

Childhood Wounds Are Like a To-Do List 
They are the things we have to work through, learn from, and grow from in this life. There is no perfection in family life. No parent is perfect. And no child has perfect behavior, which means no child escapes childhood without a wound or two. 

Sounds depressing, doesn’t it? Even though those things are a fact of life, there are things parents can do to reduce the intensity, and amount of wounding that occurs in childhood.

Pin thisEmotional Coaching is the Answer
Each day presents many opportunities for learning. Some days, the day’s events create bad behavior and huge learning opportunities. Some days, the day’s events only require reminders to be aware of what you say and do. Regardless of what type of day it is, there are questions parents can ask their kids to help guide them toward understanding themselves, and the things they do and say. 

Most of us did not grow up in a family where feelings were easily discussed. As a result, you may think, “We never talked about feelings when I grew up, and I turned out okay, so why do I have to talk to my kids about feelings?â€Â 

Or you may feel uncomfortable, overwhelmed, or just not know how to bring up the subject of feelings with your child. No matter how you feel, avoiding feelings just isn’t an option in today’s parenting. 

Today kids are exposed to TV families that talk about feelings, classroom discussions that focus on feelings, games that incorporate feelings into the play. If you aren’t talking about feelings with your child, your child may unconsciously create behavior in order to motivate you to help them deal with, and understand their feelings. 

Is Talking About Feelings a Challenge?
Here are a few conversation starters to use with your child. 
1. What were you feeling just before you decided to do that?
2. What were you feeling before you said those things?
3. Where do mad feelings live inside your body? 
4. Do you notice your feelings in your tummy, or does your breathing get faster? 
5. How do you know when you’re afraid? 
6. What does fear or anger feel like to you?
7. What do you think you should do when you feel that part of your body act that way?
8. What is the most helpful thing I could do for you, when you get mad or fearful? 
9. How do you calm down when you’re mad?
10. What do you do to stop being afraid?

Notice that all the questions are scaled to an age appropriate level. I am not asking grammatically correct, logical, theoretical questions; I am asking relatable, practical, feeling-based questions. 

What Should You Do After Asking Questions?
Once the questions have been asked and feelings acknowledged, then what? How are you supposed to enforce rules and boundaries as mindfully and effectively as possible when you’re upset about what your child has done, said or acted? Take a look at our updated website and all the new seminars and eBooks we have to support you at Proactive Parenting dot net. Please excuse the slightly slow load, it’s the last thing we have to figure out, and we aren’t sure how! Fun times! 

Remember, what you do now, really does inform, and impact your child’s behavior tomorrow. 
Now go hug your kids!
We’ll talk again later this week! 


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