In life, we often encounter problems and difficulties that can be hard to deal with. This is particularly challenging for children and teenagers, who don’t have experience on their side to help them navigate the tough times.
When things start to add up, it can get overwhelming; generating more problems and creating a vicious cycle. However, with enough emotional awareness, we can begin to cut through the noise. With the ability to identify and understand our emotions, we can better regulate ourselves and tackle our challenges more thoughtfully and deliberately. So, helping your children improve their emotional awareness is a great way to help them manage their problems.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Improving emotional awareness can be challenging even for adults, so how do we go about cultivating this in adolescents? I found the answer in the words of some of our wisest minds.
Understanding our emotional state
Albert Einstein once said, “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Recently, I was talking to a young person about problems they were dealing with. It was like unravelling string; the more we talked, the more things we uncovered. So, I posed Einstein’s quote to them.
Together, we unpacked these words to glean what we thought they meant. As we did so, the young person began to realise that all of their problems were coming from negative perceptions, thoughts, and emotions that were creating negative experiences. Through these negative perceptions, their emotional state worsened, creating more bad experiences that formed more problems.
Once they realised this, they came to understand that they needed to reframe their thinking around each issue. Our discussion was able to help them gain greater emotional awareness, assisting them in understanding the source of their problems so they could find a solution.
Reframing our perceptions
Part of the solution was a joint exercise. Working together, we wrote down every negative word they would find themselves thinking or feeling, then wrote an opposite, positive word beside it. As we went, we made sure that the positive words on the child’s emotional list resonated with them and was a feeling they could take on board.
Doing this revealed a truth spoken by another wise mind – Winnie the Pooh. He says, “life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved.”
Rather than constantly forming problems through their negative experiences, the young person was able to generate enough emotional awareness to shift their thinking and can now take things as they come. It is common to think that we need to solve every problem in order to be happy or move forward, but throughout our time together this young person came to understand that that was not the case.
By the time we had finished our session, we were able to devise our own quote: “Turn the problems in your life into gifts that can propel you forward to amazing heights.”
With an emotions list in hand and this lesson in mind, the young person was able to go home with newfound emotional awareness that would help them better tackle the world.
The power of profound quotes
Unpacking quotes with young people in these kinds of situations goes a long way toward provoking a meaningful, effective conversation. In this case, going through the Einstein quote allowed them to see a different perspective, setting off a lightbulb moment that helped engage their emotional awareness. This moment led to a solution being determined within minutes, rather than hours or even days or weeks.
Then, they were able to go home with a new quote that will serve as an affirmation that empowers them to better handle their emotional behaviour and life’s challenges.
Cultivate your child’s emotional awareness with The Resilience Tutor
Helping someone grow like I did for this young person is what I specialise in. No matter who your child is or what they struggle with, my guidance can help with their emotional management, problem-solving, and all-around resilience. I will take the time to find the communication method that suits them and work with them to get the results they need. Reach out today to get started.
My name is LK Tommi – I’m an educator working in the education and psychology field, and the author of a resilience-based book and journal series supporting children and teenagers to better understand their emotions, thinking, energy, and behaviour, and how it all connects with their everyday life experiences.
The people that know me well will tell you how much I love to chat.
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