I feel that one of our primary goals in raising children is really a matter of the heart. What I really mean is that parenting is a matter of training the heart. Feelings are something that all humans have, which means that feelings are something that all people need to learn to manage. As parents, it is our job to help children understand their feelings.
We are all born selfish people who only want to focus on our own wants, our own desires, and our own struggles, challenges, and goals among so many other things that basically mean that the world should revolve around, you guessed it, us.
Of course as adults we know that life doesn’t really go all that well for us when we are only focused on ourselves, however, this is something that we as parents need to deeply impress upon our children’s hearts. Not only that, we have to train our children in what it means to think of others and ways in which it is appropriate to set our own selfish tendencies aside to give preference to the people we come into contact with.
While life is full of hands-on, teachable moments, I find that being proactive in teaching and training my children to be so very effective as well.
Of course there are times when teaching and training in a more traditional sense is appropriate, I also find it so effective to teach and train my children within a context that is a bit more sneaky. Better said, teaching and training my kids when they have no idea that they are being taught is one of the best and most effective ways that my kids learn. I’m guessing this might be true for your kids, too.
Processing feelings is not always an easy things for kids to do. In fact, I don’t think there is anything that is easy about kids learning how to process feelings.
Feelings are God-given, but as with many things that are God-given, they need to be managed responsibly. Feelings are a very good thing, but if handled inappropriately, feelings can lead people, adults and children alike, to behave in ways that are anything but gracious.
When it comes to feelings, there are so many great resources that are geared toward breaking feelings down and then learning how to move forward with an understanding of the appropriate way to let those feelings guide behavior.
Even some adults have never learned the appropriate way to deal with feelings, but this doesn’t generally turn out well. As with so many other things, people can either learn to master these concepts while growing up, or, they can learn them when they are already grown up. This is also one of the times when learning these things as an adult comes with a higher price tag and a steeper learning curve.
It is with all of this in mind that I wanted to share some of my favorite resources for helping my kids understand and process their feelings, but also to behave in a gracious, compassionate, and respectful way when it comes to those feelings.
These are among my favorite resources for helping children understand their own feelings.
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This is another large series of books, and they are a regular part of our preschool/kindergarten character training. Here are just a few, but we have numerous books from this series and we LOVE them all!
I find this one to be especially great. This is one of those skills that is so important, and it seems to be so lacking these days
Many of those books are found in the basket that is part of our peace chairs. You can read about our peace chairs in Dealing With Sibling Squabbles. In a family with seven, soon to be eight children, there are squabbles and sibling issues as part of every day.
Dealing With Siblings Squabbles lays out how important we feel it is to deal with these issues as a training of the heart. We are not merely looking to solve the problem, rather, we are looking to change and shape the heart, which will help change the behavior moving forward. Teaching Your Kids What I’m Sorry Really Means is another post in which we don’t focus on going through the motions but instead focus on the heart issue that is at the root.
Being a parent is one of the most honorable positions we can ever hold, and each day is filled with new challenges. Being intentional in how we parent is so important. Training our children in how to understand and embrace their feelings is a gift we can give our children that they will benefit from for the rest of their lives.