The Top 5 Big Disruptive Emotions
As your child experiences any of these big 5 emotions, a parent or caregiver must be able to do two things: identify the feeling and explain how the child can deal with it.
This emotion may arise whenever a child’s fight or flight response is triggered. It can happen when a child gets physically assaulted like being pushed out of the way or kicked, or when his or her toy is taken away by a playmate.
When these events happen, a child’s immediate reaction is to either respond with the aim of self-preservation or run away from the situation. Whichever course of action they take, parents and caregivers such as early childhood educators must be quick to act and address the child’s feelings.
Be sure never to downplay the emotion they are feeling; instead, ask for confirmation on what they think they are feeling and if they are yet able to identify, frame your description of the situation with some plausibility so the child can easily refute or correct you if your description is not as accurate to what they’re feeling.
Once properly identified as anger, explain that the child can safely express their feeling by telling the offending person what they did to make the child feel that way. This way, the offending party, whether an adult or a playmate, is able to understand exactly what behaviour of theirs caused the child to feel anger.
It also helps the child categorise the feeling accurately, so that in the future, when he/she feels the feeling, he/she will know how to react.
While you as a parent or primary carer may have to repeat identifying and explaining ways on how to deal or manage the feeling a few more times, this is important so that the child will have a consistent basis, much like a sturdy scaffolding, to help them navigate through the complex world of emotions and feelings before dealing and managing these big emotions on their own successfully.
Feelings of sadness can still creep in to a young child who’s usually full of positivity and cheerfulness. For example, when a promised trip to a park falls through, or when a best friend moves away to somewhere far away, or their favourite toy has been lost. These events may trigger a feeling of sadness.
A child may become subdued, be quieter than usual, lose appetite, or simply cry. Again, helping the child identify the feeling of sadness and name it when they feel it in the future.
As they identify feeling sad, help them overcome this depressing feeling by sharing a similar situation wherein you also felt sad. Let them know what helped you in situations where you felt sad.
Another strategy is to reframe the situation and mention any positive consequences that may come out of it.