A field guide to living an intentional, creative and fun life — with children.

Tag Archives: parents anger

Original Photo Credit: {e u g e n e} via Flickr

The comments on my last post were so very thoughtful. A couple, in particular, led me to think about the entire issue of feelings and emotions and how important expressing them is to a healthy and happy family.

When we get upset at someone, it’s often because they didn’t respect our feelings. Maybe we were a bit off track but our feelings are still our feelings. When we try to hide our feelings from those we love, we often come off as not caring. When we seem like we don’t care about something or someone, that’s when real, long-lasting hurt can develop.

There’s no sense in dismissing anyone’s feelings, especially our own.

Here are 5 Family Activities to Express Emotions:

The Talking Stick — We have one of these lovelies at our house and it’s one of my favorite things we’ve ever made together. It sits on our book shelf in the living room, waiting. The girls aren’t ready to use it much just yet but when we’ve had tough times, we’ve sat in a circle and who ever had the stick could share what was on their mind. Easy brilliance from the Native American culture.

Emotion Rocks — Lyndsay at Our Feminist Play School created emotion rocks for her family to use. I love this idea so much. This can easily be adapted for older kids by having them paint their own happy rocks, sad rocks, angry rocks or whatever feelings might fit on a rock.

Feelings Check in — I’ve probably written about this before, but I’ll use it again. On the way home from school — or anywhere for that matter — we often play a game we call the Feelings Check-in. This is when we talk about everything in our day that made us feel sad, happy, excited, anxious, mad, disappointed and jealous. My girls absolutely love this game, and they are in Kindergarten. I love this game, and I’m not in Kindergarten.

Get Musical — Few things stir emotions quite the way music does. Strings, Keys and Melodies has created a lovely idea of using music to help understand emotions as well as others emotions. This is a great idea that I had never thought to do. We listen to a lot of music. What a lovely way to think about emotions as a family — while in the car on a long road trip, even — and while listening to a song that evokes happy feelings.

Create Together — Being artistic together as a family can really be one of the most relaxing ways to connect and learn together. I love the idea of creating art and discussing emotions. We do this often at our house. But, we’re not alone.  One of my FAVORITE activities when my girls were little was asking them What Color Was Your Day? Click to read more about this great concept for toddlers and pre-schoolers. You can also create a photo book using real pictures of your family members demonstrating real emotions. We’ve done this before and it’s a ton of fun.

Do you have any special times for your family to engage long enough to share feelings? If so, please share so we can all learn from your ideas and rituals!

We’ve all been there. Stuck with a challenging situation — maybe a crying newborn, maybe a tantruming child, maybe a tantruming adult. Stuck and you can’t leave for whatever reason.

We’ve all been there. Rushing around trying to get out the door or in the door or up the stairs or to the next place.

We’ve all been there. Appalled by the impatient parent in line at the grocery store, in line at a big box store, on the way into school in the mornings.

We’ve all been there. Mind over here, over there — when really it should be right here, right in this moment.

Peace comes from within. It’s what we’re trying to teach our children. It’s what we, the parents, have to teach ourselves.

Imagine what the world would be like if we all took a few minutes each day to decide to choose peace rather than war, hate, anger, distrust, control, being right over being kind … etc.

Peace isn’t a destination. It’s the way. We won’t suddenly find some ephiphany that keeps us at peace forevermore. We have to find what gives us peace in our own hearts and use those tools each day. We have to find our own ways, every single moment of every single day to be at peace, even in the chaos.

It isn’t enough to talk about peace, one must believe it. And it isn’t enough to to believe in it, one must work for it.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

So, just how do we do this, how do we find peace? How do we find it among the chaos at work? How do we find it among the noise in the car? How do we find it at home or everywhere else in between?

It’s entirely up to you.

I don’t have the answers for you to be at peace. But I can share what works for me. These are my peace tools — my inner peace gadgets — that I use as often as possible to ward off the crankies.

Thank you to "D Sharon Pruitt" on Flickr for the original white board photograph that I have altered.

Here are some Peaceful Steps to Take Each Day:

PRACTICE GRATITUDE: Saying thanks for the teachable moments, thanks for the hard times, thanks for the learning curves, thanks for the blows and blunders is just one way to find peace in your daily life. Rather than dwell, say thanks. Thank you for this moment. I do not know what it means just yet but I know it will turn out just fine.

LOWER EXPECTATIONS: Yeah. I know. It isn’t how you thought it should be. It didn’t turn out right. Things will be all messed up. I know. I get it. Now get over it and find peace.

LOVE HARDER: Forget the tough love. Love yourself. Love your partner. Love your imperfect child. Being kind is so much more peaceful than being right. The days I choose kindness are the days I feel most at peace … and then, oddly, peace falls into place, naturally.

SAY YOUR SORRIES: Sorry I yelled. Sorry I snapped. Sorry I didn’t do the dishes like you asked. Sorry I messed up. Sorry I wasn’t nice. Say it and move on. This teaches our children to say their sorries, too.

MAKE TIME FOR SOLITUDE: I am a person who needs, needs, needs silence. It’s why I choose to not watch television. It’s why I have been declining more and more social events. I don’t have enough quiet time in my life since I work in an office all day, have the kids all evening and the weekends are jam packed with things to do. And yet I need it like I need water and food and sleep. It’s that essential. Once I figured that out, I became more peaceful knowing that those moments are all mine.

ENERGIZE YOURSELF: Yup, bringing back the trusty energy list again. It works like a charm. That’s all I can say. Write one. Keep it close. Guard it with your life. Follow it to a T.

WALK AWAY: When things get tough, walk away. When things get loud, walk away. When things get frustrating, walk away. Find your peace corner. If you can go outside, all the better. It’s not always possible and so if it isn’t, go to your room,  your kitchen. Clean. Scrub. Do something that can get your mind working in a different direction, a more peaceful direction.

LET GO: Stop caring so much. Stop controlling every thing. Simply let things go. There you will find peace of the most amazing kind.

Photo Credit: Nazer K on Flickr

FIND WAYS TO LAUGH: Seek out the silly. Eek out a smile. Follow your bliss. Indulge in things that make you happy.

BREATHE: Meditate, Meditate, Meditate. I came across this quote on Kind Over Matter this week and I just adore it.

Suppose you read about a pill that you could take once a day to reduce anxiety and increase your contentment. Would you take it? Suppose further that the pill has a great variety of side effects, all of them good: increased self-esteem, empathy, and trust; it even improves memory. Suppose, finally, that the pill is all natural and costs nothing. Now would you take it? The pill exists. It is meditation.

— Jonathan Haidt

What peace tools can you offer here today? What do you need to do or have to do to stay peaceful inside? Please share. I’ll share more of what I’ve added to our family’s peace corner FOR MYSELF on my Facebook page on Thursday. Maybe your ideas will spark new ideas for a brand new mom or dad who found this post when they were at their wit’s end and couldn’t take it anymore. The more ideas we can offer, the more our positive energy will flow out into the world. Let’s welcome these ideas with open arms in an effort to inspire others to muddle through another hour, another evening or another challenging phase.

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