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Big Emotions and Emotional Coaching


Hello, Trinity Families, We are still sheltering in place. The unexpected changes in our lives are playing themselves out in ways we could never have imagined. While none of this takes God by surprise, we are navigating uncharted waters. Children being by our sides in much longer chunks of time can create big emotions. As those emotions are expressed, they have fewer places to land. Just like a cough or sneeze, crying, yelling, stomping, moping, and worrying seem to spread to those around us, especially to our most vulnerable, our children.

God cautions us about anger, anxiety, and a word unfitly spoken and knows we will not always deal with our emotions in healthy ways. Big emotions need to be expressed but in ways that do not damage others or ourselves. One of our roles as parents is to serve as “emotional coaches.”

Emotional coaching is something we do with children everyday although we may have never labeled that aspect of our parenting. Labeling it makes us more aware that we are fulfilling that role and enables us to fill it with more intentionality. The following are some thoughts about emotions and emotional coaching:

Recognize the emotion as an opportunity for intimacy and teaching.

  • We have to decode our children’s messages by listening with our hearts.
  • Children under the age of seven express their emotions through fantasy play. Listen and become involved in their play.
  • Our ability to deal with negative emotion is key to nurturing deep and lasting relationships with our children.

We must recognize the “undoneness” of our children and of ourselves.

  • Anger, fear and sadness cannot be viewed as threats to our authority or an indication of our failings as a parent.
  • Research indicates that the labeling of children’s emotions has a calming effect on the nervous system.
  • We can have more than one feeling or emotion at a time.

We hope these thoughts are helpful. In our next message to you, we will provide some hints for dealing with big emotions. We would love your feedback. Are these notes helpful? They are meant to be an encouragement as we walk this new road together. As always, you and your children are in our prayers. We love you so much.

Joann DesLauriers