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(207) How a simple analogy can help you teach your kids to manage their emotions

Find the episode here:

https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/YVTiFgsI0xb 

Show Notes:

  • In this episode of the Raising Resilience Podcast, Sara Olsher and Danielle Bettmann discuss the concept of managing emotions.
  • They cover what happens when emotions hijack the brain and how thinking can become distorted due to past experiences and the stories we tell ourselves.
  • They also discuss how to untangle these experiences and how to approach managing emotions with kids and helping them regulate their emotions.
  • The conversation also touches on how adults can manage their own big emotions and the importance of understanding and verbalizing the process of sorting through and dealing with these emotions.

Transcript:

Sara Olsher 0:00
Hello, and welcome back to the Raising Resilience Podcast. My name is Sara and I am here with Danielle Bettmann, who is the parenting support coordinator for the raising Resilience Program and a parenting coach at Parent Wholeheartedly. And today we are talking about managing emotions. So that is month seven in the raising Resilience Program. And we just kind of wanted to talk about what that exactly means when we talk about managing emotions.

Because realistically, like, Okay, so in month three, we talked about identifying emotions. And then in month five, we talked about understanding emotions and the nervous system and coping skills. So what are we talking about when we're talking about managing emotions, and what what our goal was, was to kind of educate everybody about what happens when our emotions hijack our brains, what happens when our thinking gets kind of distorted, because of what our experiences with the story that we told ourselves, and how we can kind of like, untangle that experience and how we can approach our kids and help them manage their emotions and how we can manage our own. So that's what we're talking about today. Yes, yes.

Danielle Bettmann 1:17
Thank you for having me, Sara, I'm excited to talk about this. This is definitely something that again, I talk to a lot of my clients, the families I work with, about not only for their kids, because they are going through big emotional tunnels and have very high highs and low lows emotionally. And it really makes parents uncomfortable to deal with someone else's big emotions and not know how to help, because it's scary, and it's out of our control. And we just want it to be over. So I want to like help rush them out of the other side. And sometimes, you know, we can't do that, or we try to make a teachable moment out of a moment that is not teachable. And so there's a lot that we can understand better as parents how to how or how to support our kids, and how to help them regulate when they need our help the most. But also for ourselves, we have a lot of our own big emotions that we were never taught to deal with. And we don't know what that looks like, exactly when our emotions hijack the ship, I don't know if you've ever, you know, argued with a partner before. But I know that I don't show up with my as my best self 20 minutes into an argument that is very heated, where we're saying things that we don't mean, and we're reacting very emotionally. And there's a lot going on where it feels like the assumptions I'm making.

And the story I'm telling myself about my partner is no longer accurate. It is full of cognitive distortions that are over generalizing, and exaggerating, and filtering, and blaming and doing all these things that are real, they feel so real, they feel so real. And so right and true, and the only thing that's ever been true, and I'm seeing it for the first time, and it's very overwhelming to sort through when we don't understand what's actually even what's happening at all, or know what to do with it on the back end. Because now we're left with this whole story that if that's true, you know, you can make a whole bunch of then next steps and decisions based off of that. But is it and what do we do if it's not? Because then like, what can we what can we even believe and so that's where when we're trying to sort through these things as adults, we need to be able to not only one, have the awareness to realize that's what goes on in those situations, but then be able to verbalize it in a way where our kids can better understand for themselves and learn this at a more influential age that they can begin to have a healthier understanding that this happens to everybody. And we all have thoughts that aren't necessarily accurate or helpful. And it's hard to sort through them sometimes. And you know, we need to be able to have a process that helps us get back to a place that provides clarity and helps us feel like we are back in control.

Sara Olsher 4:16
Yeah, so in the in the understanding emotions. Month, we talk about how the nervous system works, and how our brains and our bodies are sending messages all over the place and what that can mean. And in this month, we're talking more about what happens when you're you've just totally lost control. And for kids, we see this as meltdowns, or tantrums. And I think a lot of parents don't. I mean, I was just watching something earlier today a video of a mom who was talking about how her daughter just kept melting down and she couldn't understand why this was happening because She thought the child's brain was fully developed and the child was nine, and that it was not developmentally appropriate for the kid to be just like, oh, losing it. And just as Daniel was just saying, we as adults lose it. And our brains are fully developed, kids brains aren't developed until they're in their 20s. And so for them to be able to control these kinds of emotional outbursts is not something that we can expect out of them. But what we need to understand is what is happening for them in those times and how we can deal with it. So if your kid is having a tantrum, or having a meltdown, and then they are not able to access their thinking brain. So if you are trying to have a conversation with your kid, if you are trying to get them to use a coping skill, when they are in the middle of a hysterical crying fit, you are not going to have success, not only are you not going to have success, but it is likely going to make it worse for both of you. You're going to get very, very frustrated that this is not working. Yeah. And your kid is like not hearing you. And it's like get away with your stupid advice. This is not helping everything is awful. Right? Right. We need to know how we can handle this when it happens, because it is inevitable. And then what do we do after that situation is over. And so the book, don't believe everything you think, is about this process of this experience of basically being totally overwhelmed with your emotions because something bad happened. And then what we can do after it to choose to let whatever happened affect the entire day, or come up with another plan to basically, it might not be as great as the initial plan, but it's a whole heck of a lot better than letting it ruin the entire day. And so that kind of skill is something that we as adults maybe take for granted sometimes and think to ourselves, like, you know, the whole day was not terrible, because, you know, you spilled milk all over your artwork. Yeah, that is terrible. But it's hard for us to sometimes access empathy. When we're like, literally kid. Like, one thing. We have 24 hours in this day, and we went to the pumpkin patch. And you know, we went ice skating, and we went like, yay. And we got seven ice cream cones. And now none of it means anything because you're ruined artwork is the only thing that matters. Like, these are the skills that we're trying to build. So that the stories that we're telling ourselves about what happened, don't ruin the entire day.

Danielle Bettmann 8:09
Right? Right. And same for our thoughts, because our thoughts about our child at that point could be, you know, they're they've always been like this, this is getting worse, they're gonna do this in when they're in high school and college and eventually get kicked out of school. And, you know, they're never gonna find a good partner, because who's gonna want to deal with this? And then, you know, now they're gonna be living out of my basement until they're 45. Because

Sara Olsher 8:35
I failed. I bet there's a parent and everything is terrible.

Danielle Bettmann 8:40
Yes. Don't believe everything you think in that moment as well.

Sara Olsher  8:46
Yeah, so in this month, we, we basically explained this whole concept to both you and your kids. And then we also have this tool called a twisted thought pad. And the idea behind this is like, basically to work through these these thoughts that were thinking and, you know, Is this accurate? Like, is this an actual representation of what is true? Or is this maybe like a little lie on that one, myself. And Danielle, and I have both used this twisted thought pad for our own experience. And we've we've had subscribers to the racing Resilience Program who use this, twisted that pattern, then share it with their child's therapist as well, because understanding how you are approaching something with your thought process can be really illuminating.

Danielle Bettmann 9:43
Mm hmm. And you just need the prompts to be will bring that out because your brain is sometimes not your best friend, when it's trying to point out you know, really obvious things that are just not you know, what would be the most helpful for you to feel empowered and take a solution orientated next step. So when you need help sorting through that, it's okay, if you can't do that on your own, you're going to do that right alongside your child.

Sara Olsher  10:13
Yeah. So many of these skills that we are teaching and learning we are learning right alongside our kids. And I think when I first took my daughter to therapy, when she was young, I was very, very worried about my own ability to teach her some of these skills because I didn't know them myself. And one of the most empowering things that the therapist told me was that we only need to be one step ahead of our kids in order to guide them and lead them where they need to go. And you as an adult, are already one step ahead of your kids just by the nature of being an adult. So you got this, you can totally do this. All right. Well, thank you so much for joining us for this conversation about managing emotions. This was a quick one. If you have any questions about this, feel free to drop us a message if you go to mighty and bright.com/podcast you can click the button that says ask a question. And we can go deeper into this if you would like. So thank you so much and we will talk to you next time.