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Talking about feelings with your family

Do you ever get overwhelmed by your feelings? Our children do too, and need help to learn how to  mange their big feelings.

Anger is a feeling we have all felt at some point. It usually serves as a warning light to let us know that something is wrong. What we want to teach our children (and often ourselves) is to respond to the anger rather than ignore, punish or shame it.

Watch this episode on YouTube:

 “Once children understand that their anger will be heard and responded to, they can express it more calmly, rather than defaulting to aggression. By contrast, kids who are given the message that anger is unacceptable or disrespectful try to repress it, which means the angry feelings go underground only to burst out unregulated by the conscious mind. Our attitude towards our child’s anger can therefore either help him learn to manage it or push him towards aggression.” ~ Dr. Laura Markham 

The key is to acknowledge the anger and the feelings behind that anger. Then the defences go down and the anger can melt away. Keep in mind that even while accepting feelings we can still set loving limits. We do need to keep ourselves, siblings and property safe.

When your child is calm you may wish to have some discussions about what anger feels like in their body. This way they can recognize it coming on. Resources and posters are available when you sign up for the Joyful Mud Puddles Newsletter

With my own boys we discuss and talk about what each level of anger looks like and feels like along with situations that are often associated with that level of frustration.

It is also a good idea to brain storm together a variety of appropriate ways to calm down, or how to handle those big feelings when they come on. If you have a plan that you all agree on before a melt down, your child should be more willing to try those strategies when they are upset.
Ideas for calming down in the heat of the moment:

  • Talk to an adult
  • Take a break (time in, positive time out)
  • Listen to music
  • Take a walk
  • Breathe
  • Draw or colour
  • Drink some water
  • Play with stuffies
  • Squeeze Playdough
  • Do jumping jacks 

There are a variety of posters available on my freebie page. We use them in our home and my boys gave suggestions on what they’d like to see on our feelings wall.

More resources on anger 

I have touched on the topic of anger in other posts my blog. These articles can be applied to parents and children. They go further into the areas of unmet needs. It’s okay to get angry 
I messed up and got angry now what?

Feelings wall youTube –

STOP Mindfulness Method –

Gentle peaceful Parenting Community on Facebook –


Meaghan Jackson of Joyful Mud Puddles is a parenting coach, an avid blogger and podcaster. She has taken her passion for bringing peaceful calm to family life and pairs that with her background in education to help parents become more confident and well equipped. What better way to describe the messy, fun exciting life of a mom with three boys that Joyful Mud Puddles!