Teaching Your Kids About Emotions and Reactions


One of our cubs ran in to the house to wash her hands for a third time this weekend while we were paining the Den. “Oh, don’t worry about your hands! Just go have FUN and we’ll wash up when we’re done.” I said, a little impatiently. “Wait…you want me to get dirty?!” She asked, baffled.

Do your cubs have preconceived ideas about behavior, emotions, reactions, etc? You bet they do…and it starts early. Just take a minute to consider your OWN childhood. Did your mom let you get dirty? Could you play in paint? Did you clean your plate at every meal? Are you afraid of things your parents were afraid of? Was it ok to cry? Are you a ‘hugger?’ How important is church…education…work….family time?

So much of what we do or say sends a message to our kids every day. Now, I’m no Mary Poppins-you bet I lose my crap sometimes. But as the eldest of my cubs approaches adulthood, it makes me reflect. What have I passed on to her as far as “how to deal with life?” I’ve certainly done some things wrong, and some things right, and I see some things that need improvement. It makes me think more…just stop and think…about how my daily emotions and reactions impact my children. Some areas to consider:

1.) Do you have fun? Do you play? Or is that something that is reserved for only children?

2.) Do you display affection to those around you? Is that something that you like or don’t like about yourself?

3.) Do you listen well to what others are saying? Do you make others feel like their opinion matters?

4.) Are you able to say “no” when you don’t want to do something, due to time, money, stress, etc?

5.) When you have commitments, are you prompt? Do you follow things through? Are you a procrastinator, or timely?

6.) What are your attitudes about work, vacations, money, church, hobbies,sports, school?

7.) How do you act when you are angry, sad, disappointed, fearful, tired, joyful, relaxed? Do you SAY how you are feeling?

8.) Do you take good care of yourself with sleep, illnesses, stress? Do you show your children how to self-soothe as an adult?

9.) How do you talk about others on the phone, to your spouse, and to your best friend?

10.) How important is taking care of your health? Are you active? Do you make good food choices? Do you take definite steps to improve your lifestyle and health? Is your family involved in that?


No one is perfect. The idea is that your littles are watching and mimicking all of the time. They learn about life from you, firsthand. Try to pick out some good life skills-for me, it works best for me to pick one or two areas that I am weak in at a time, and work to improve them. I often find that as I work to improve my own attitudes, emotions, and skills in an area my cubs experience little changes too. Make small goals, and involve your family. Some of those will work out to become habits. Some of them won’t go so well, and that’s ok. Talk about your successes and failures, and put them back on the list to be worked on again if you like. Talk to your children, love on them, and gift them with a giood start. Children are your chance to change the world!

About idealifemom

Oft overwhelmed and underfunded CEO of everything at home. Following the births of our three youngest children, I came to realize that unless I employed a nanny, a chef, a trainer, an accountant, a maid, a personal shopper, and at LEAST 3 assistants...one of us was going to have to become the in-home expert on everything. That someone was me. This is my journey....welcome aboard!

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