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27 October 2021

When BIG events cause BIG emotions

  • Student Wellbeing

As we quickly charge on towards the end of the year, there can be such a wide range of big emotions that begin to appear in our children! These varying emotions generally arise from the typical ‘end of school year’ events, such as camps, excursions, special assemblies, end of year celebrations, assessments, reports and final results. Excitement, joy, anticipation, worry, disappointment, stress, and fear of the unknown are some of the emotions that seem to come and go quickly and are experienced unexpectedly at times. This constant change in the emotional state can make it difficult for some children to regulate themselves as they would on a normal day.

As parents, when we see our children riding the waves of these big emotions, we can feel a little helpless and experience our own wide range of emotions! This can seem overwhelming, and some parents tend to suppress and hide their emotions in order to meet their children’s needs first. I am not suggesting that we ignore our children’s needs, however, social and emotional research shows that children learn emotional-regulation skills most effectively through it being modelled to them! So, how we manage our emotions will affect how our children manage theirs.

Our children need to know that we are with them, supporting them, standing behind them and guiding them. We can model to our children how to identify and process these big emotions by allowing ourselves to feel them too! Most children and teenagers will not respond to just being told “calm down” and “relax”, especially if they feel like they do not know how to do that. When we are reflective, deliberate and transparent with the way we manage our own emotions, our children will learn to do the same, simply through our modelling…

Some quick tips to help you model emotional-regulation:

  • When you feel a big emotion, identify it (within hearing range of your child) and clearly articulate what you are going to do to manage it. An example would be: “I’m feeling really stressed today, I think it’s time to switch off social media and go for a walk.”
  • Practice mindfulness to become more aware of your own emotional space. Identify what triggers your emotions, and develop a self-care plan to help you calm down quickly and effectively.
  • Do not deal with a problem while you are still angry or frustrated. Sometimes it is a better option to take some space, breathe, bring yourself down, and then go back to deal with the situation. It can be helpful to clearly articulate this to your child; “I am quite angry right now. I’m going to take 5 minutes to cool down, and then we will chat.”

Does your child need extra support?

If emotional-regulation is an area that your child is struggling with, and you would like to request extra support, our Wellbeing team would love to support you. You can make a referral to see one of our counsellors on the Emmaus Wellbeing Website.


Steph Reedman and the Emmaus Wellbeing Team