Dealing with anger, building harmony – the challenges of family life

Even though the country is gradually opening up again we are still living lives which feel different and strange. With school work to do for primary school kids, the challenge of working from home and trying to keep children and young people occupied while still maintaining social distancing and keeping contact to small groups life can be stressful. Here are some good tips from the Parent Centre website about dealing with anger and how to keep home life more calm. Just click on the posters for a better view.

Fifty Key Messages – Solving Problems Together

Feeling words

Give you child lots of words to name their feelings. Show your child lots of pictures of people with different emotional expressions – see if they can name all the different types of emotions. The ‘big six’ emotions are: Happy, Surprised, Angry, Afraid, Sad and Disgusted. Then you have: amazed, astonished, bored, confused, cross, delighted, distracted, enchanted, envious, fascinated, furious, glad, grumpy, hurt, interested, insulted, jealous, joyful, lonely, nervous, optimistic, pleased, relieved, shocked, surprised, suspicious, trusting, upset, worried etc.

Connect before you re-direct

Try and connect with your child emotionally before you try and ‘solve the problem’ together at a logical level.

Listen to your child

Let your child talk and really listen to them. If an experience has upset your child let them talk about the event. This will help them to make sense of it.

Draw to thaw

Children may prefer to draw a picture of something or someone who is bothering them rather than talk about it. They might also like to write about an incident and you can encourage them to do this if appropriate.

If you want to explore more Key Messages to support your parenting check out

Fifty Key Messages – Three tips to help your child in times of stress

Things you can do to promote your child’s wellbeing in times of stress:

1. Your own emotions:

Be aware of your own emotional state and share your feelings with your child where appropriate:

“I am feeling sad now because it’s raining and we can’t go for a walk”.

How we cope with stress as parents will have an impact on our child’s wellbeing. How they see us coping with problem solving will affect their ability to deal with both positive and negative life events themselves.

2. Be patient:

Have patience and give children time to share their feelings when they are ready. Sometimes children aren’t ready to ‘tell their story’ when you want them to.

3. Doing is Soothing:

Children are sometimes more likely to share something that is bothering them when they are doing something else like:

  • Playing with their toys
  • When you are out for a walk together
  • When you are driving in the car together

If you want to explore more of the Key Messages to support your parenting check out

Fifty Key Messages – Name the feeling

How can you help your child understand their emotions and learn to regulate them?

Play the ‘name the feelings’ game. When your child is laughing or happy, it is important to name these feelings. The same applies for sadness, anger, etc.

Positive Feelings
Happy, silly, excited, playful
Neutral Feelings
Calm, interested, comfortable, patient, safe
Negative Feelings
Angry, sad, jealous, frustrated, afraid

Talking about Feelings

  • You can look through books and point out the characters’ emotional expressions on their faces, etc.
  • You can draw happy, sad, crying, angry etc. faces on a paper and use them to discuss emotions.
  • Encourage your child to think about other people’s feelings as well as their own.
  • Talk about emotions and how different things can affect people. For e.g. if watching TV talk about the interactions between people and discuss reasons for why people may be feeling the way they are. Allow your child to discuss their views and allow that they may see things differently from you.

If you want to explore more Key Messages to support your parenting see

50 Key Messages – talking about feelings with your toddler

Tips for talking about feelings with your toddler

Acknowledge feelings:

Acknowledge your young child’s feelings: “Jack I see that you are feeling a bit angry at the moment”. It is important to connect with young children emotionally. We call this emotional connection – atunement. It can be done through physical touch, empathetic facial expressions, nurturing tone of voice and non-judgemental listening. Remember younger children live completely in the moment, may be frightened by their own emotions and are only beginning to develop their language skills. They are not able to quickly engage the part of their brain that might help them control their own emotions.

Play the ‘name the feelings’ game.

Make some emotional faces and see if your child can copy you and maybe guess the emotion. Try putting on a ‘happy’ face and say “look I’m happy now, can you be happy too”. Then, put on a ‘surprised’ face and ask your child to copy you.

For more key messages to support your parenting see