My point is this: You can use a situation from a TV or movie where the character was sad and they talked about it. Recall it with your child. For example, you can say “Remember when SpongeBob was sad and didn’t leave the Krusty Krab for days?” and then you can continue, “Do you feel this way?” (Of course, this method requires you spend some quality time in front of the television or big screen together.)
Because when a child feels comfortable, and more at-ease then they can open up about what’s on their mind. In other words, by entering into your child’s world and authentically connecting with them – they’ll feel safe and distracted enough to spill the proverbial beans. And even more importantly, they’ll be coming to you for advice on a situation like how to deal with a bully, mean girl or teacher that they feel is picking on them….
So giving your child space, allowing them to feel their feelings, and encouraging them to connect with you (when they are ready) is positive parenting. You are raising an emotionally intelligent child that is aware of how they feel, learning how to talk about their feelings (from sad to glad) and move into a more positive outlook each day.
Just to be clear, the type of sadness that I am referring to above is the “regular” emotional down-in-the-dumps feeling you get as a child when: Someone picks on you, You lose your favorite T-shirt, You fail a test, Forget your HW, BFF moves away, and pet Hammy the Hamster dies.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is a deep and pervasive sadness that is clinical and is understood through a child’s “irregular” behavior like: Talking about suicide, cutting, excessive crying and isolating of one’s self. This later type of sadness is clinical depression and is best served by getting professional assistance. (More information below)
Last but not least, it is through the “clarity of your example” do your kids learn how to talk about their feelings especially the sad ones. So reflect for a moment: What do I do when I am sad? Do I talk about it? Because like Carl Jung stated, “If there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something we could better change in ourselves.”