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DWD: Labeling Feelings

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  • DWD: Labeling Feelings

    On page 68, Judy writes:

    "We need to get away from labeling feelings as positive and negative. We don't have positive or negative arms or legs, nor do we categorize other body parts that way. If feelings are as much a part of us as our feet, then we need to accept all of them, positive and negative, as vital to our emotional health. We might say we have pleasurable feelings and difficult ones.

    The best way to deal with feelings is to feel them and have them acknowledged. Expressing feelings is healthy; repressing feelings is not.

    Our role as parents is to help children identify what they are feeling, help them give it a name, and help them to cope with them. We also need to teach children how to recognize feelings in other people. This is called teaching emotional intelligence...

    Of course, we need to teach children appropriate times and places to express their feelings. We need to teach them all feelings are okay to feel. There are no limits on feelings, but the resulting behaviors have limits and some behaviors are not okay."

    I really loved reading this again in another great resource. I think it is read that happy, excited, and joyful feelings are okay but I think it's hard to truly accept angry, disappointed, and sad as feelings that are okay as well. I understand that they are just all feelings and not negative or positive but sometimes I find my own self uncomfortable with anger or find myself wanting to erase the sadness she feels. I know this is because of my upbringing in which my family and society are not okay with those emotions and want them to be repressed... it's just hard at times to accept them all and not have your own "training" come to the front.

    I also wonder, really, what are appropriate times and places to express feelings? Do we really have a choice in regards to when and how we are going to feel? Is it not okay for her to express her anger at the grocery store when she wants the candy and she can't have it? I mean, I believe she should be able to express it and that it should be accepted by me at that time... I agree that any negative behavior resulting from it is not okay but if she is truly angry about the candy, do you feel it is okay for them to stomp their feet or to say loudly that that makes me angry? What are your thoughts?

  • #2
    I'm back online after a multi-day power outage. Talk about emotions!!!

    We struggle with this one, too. Not so much with labeling them, but with letting them all out. As an example, a few days ago my daughter was upset because the cat scratched her. This is a perfectly acceptable emotion, and even though we've told her a billion times not to bother the cat when he's sleeping and doing that exact thing led to the scratch, we were able to be fully compassionate and not say "I told you so!".... at least for the first 45 minutes. After 45 minutes of whining, crying, and general melt-down (which surely was releasing much more built-up emotion than was caused by the scratch), my husband went into his "that's enough" mode. My nerves were on edge too, but it frustrates me when he doesn't let her get it all out. I remember reading somewhere to perhaps say, "I really need a break from talking about the cat scratch. Can we do something else now and talk more about this later?". I don't know if that's ideal, but it seems better than "that's enough" and better than my coping mechanism of becoming silent. What do you do when you just can't take it anymore???