Can You be Your Child’s Emotional Coach?

Do you accept the full range of your child’s feelings, including the anger, sadness, fears and disappointments? Do you find it tempting to want to avoid certain emotions by trying to shut them down in some way?

Of course, it would be so easy and wonderful if your children were happy and pleasant all the time! But when kids learn that disappointment and sadness make you uncomfortable or they are not allowed to cry or be angry, they might begin to avoid feeling what they feel, thinking it’s unacceptable. They might form a belief that says, “If I want to be loved I can’t show my feelings”.

Suppressed feelings will emerge in one way or another at some point. Sometimes they’re expressed through chronic illness or they may show up as chronic sadness (depression), chronic fear (anxiety) or chronic anger (aggression).

Your kids need you to be their emotional coach. They need to learn to feel comfortable with all their challenging feelings. They need to trust that you can accept and help them with their full range of emotions. This will expand their emotional IQ for later in life and will also help them build close, connected relationships with others.

Kids can have a difficult time telling you how they feel. They sometimes have big feelings that overwhelm them and they don’t know what to do except to act those feelings out with strong behavior.

Some kids are really good at stuffing and storing up their feelings all day at school or when they are with other people. Then when they get home, they have a huge meltdown. These meltdowns can actually be a good thing! It’s an important release of built up stress and tension.

Feelings will only go away once they are felt. Your child needs your help in feeling and releasing the upsets and fears they have been holding on to. If you can help them feel safe enough to let out those feelings, they will dissipate pretty quickly and will no longer be driving their behavior. And both you and your child will feel a lot better.

When you say no to something your child wants and he launches into a rant on how unfair life is and how he hates you, it’s easy to view this as disrespect. But this might be the only way your child can communicate his pain and strong feelings. If you take it personally and let your buttons get pushed, you will make the situation worse. What is needed is empathy and deep listening. Your child just needs to be understood. This is not giving in. You don’t have to change your decision, just recognize your child’s perspective and feelings.

When you are emotionally equipped to deal with all that parenting throws at you – the upsets, the hurts, the arguments, the joys, the sorrows, all the heart-wrenching moments – you will be able to effectively assist your child with his or her strong feelings to move through it all without anger or harm to your child and your relationship.

Unraveling the feelings and beliefs underneath the upsets is not always a simple task. There is no cookie cutter method for assessing a child’s needs. Every situation is different and until you have the tools to identify the real issues yourself it’s immensely helpful to have some guidance.

In our parent coaching program, you will get the guidance you need.

As a certified parenting coach, I provide a purely judgement-free, completely confidential space for you to talk about what’s happening. I’ll support you in a new way of communicating and interacting and help you incorporate new tools – so your kids are more cooperative and you can feel more peace and ease.

If you want to talk about your frustrations, feeling overwhelmed, or a specific challenge you’re having…whatever is on your mind… take a half hour for yourself to talk with me. Trust me, it could change everything.

Learn more and schedule a free call.

Jane Sheppard CPC
Certified Parenting Coach
Functional Medicine Health Coach


  1. Hi Jane,
    I have found several of your articles speak to my heart. I have a 6 year old girl who has feelings all over the place, as well as I do trying to handle it. I also have a 2 year old boy who is watching how she handles things, which makes me nervous for his future behavior.

    1. Hi Tammi, I totally understand how challenging that can be. It’s hard to be in the midst of a 6-year-old’s emotional outburst without reacting yourself. They sure do have a way of triggering a lot of our own big feelings! If you want to talk more about how that is for you, feel free to schedule a call with me. I’m happy to help. – Jane

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