Does Managing Emotions Increase Self-esteem in Children?

When the little one in the house is able to identify their emotions and can express them appropriately, their intelligence, attention span and self-esteem increase.

The Woman Post | María Consuelo Caicedo Toro

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Mary screams, cries and kicks on the ground. Ricky and Heather, the parents, try to calm her down but it is useless, the girl does not answer their calls and becomes more and more desperate. Little Jo, two years younger than Mary, damaged his sister's favorite doll and the fact unleashed the ire of its owner.

This is a common scene in any family. Children experience many emotions but do not understand what is happening to them. They just get carried away by what they feel.

"Emotions are affective states that we all experience throughout our lives, they are necessary to adapt to the environment and for survival. The problem is that, sometimes, they turn into something negative, "explains the Venezuelan pediatrician, Eduardo Hernández, specialist in Child Behavior Therapy at the Center for Psychiatric, Psychological and Sexological Research of Venezuela, who also emphasizes that the 6 basic emotions are joy, sadness, anger, fear, disgust and surprise.

For children, emotional education is very important, a responsibility not only of the parents but of the school: "In fact, this is a subject that, combined with emotional intelligence, should be compulsory in educational institutions," says Hernández.

When a child is able to identify their emotions and can express them appropriately, their intelligence, attention span and self-esteem increase: “Emotional education must begin from the moment the baby is born and even though in its first days its sense of in view, at 3 months he recognizes the person who takes care of him permanently and is able to distinguish the moods in that person's expressions”.


To coexist healthily with emotions, it is necessary to understand them. In fact, all of them have physiological, behavioral and cognitive expressions. If we feel fear, for example, according to the pediatrician consulted by The Woman Post, physiologically, the heart rate changes, the face turns pale and the body trembles: "All this can be seen." Cognitively, fear is often evidenced through crying, for example, and behaviorally, "you choose two paths, face what scares you, or run away." Of course we do not all manifest ourselves in the same way.

On what does the way in which a child expresses his emotions depend? Eduardo Hernández explains that the first socialization scenario that children have are their homes and their families: “If the parents or caregivers usually do not express any emotion, the child will believe that this is normal and will repeat the behavior just like the one who grows up with people who overflow their expressions in any event, especially if it is traumatic. This, combined with temperament, will manifest itself at specific moments.

How emotions are channeled and controlled

Dialogue with the child is a successful strategy, but the specialist advises approaching him when the manifestation of a specific emotion has ceased due to an event that could cause sadness, anger or fear: “You have to ask him what he felt, how he felt and why felt like this. I'm talking about a 2 or 3-year-old boy who, although he doesn't have command of the language, understands perfectly what we are saying to him”. Once the child responds to the questions, he must know that there are consequences and - very important - that he must assume responsibility for his actions. Otherwise, we would be accompanying a little person in his growth who will always look for someone to blame for what happens to him”.

On the other hand, mom and dad (together or separately) should tell the child how their overflowing moods and expressions make them feel. In Mary's case, her parents will let her know that they are upset and disappointed and that they will stay that way for a while: “Maybe the first time the girl will not fully assimilate the situation, but little by little her attitudes will change if the parents they repeat the experience of dialogue that also implies expressing their own feelings”, recommends Eduardo Hernández.

The example that parents set for their children will be a key part of managing emotions. If these are adults who yell, fight, insult and attack each other, what are they instilling in their children? They should seek professional help and heal first before making recommendations that, for obvious reasons, will not permeate children.

The game and the stories

All children like to have fun and that is why play is a suitable resource for them to learn about emotions. Another wonderful strategy is reading stories: “The children's literary market has storybooks in which characters express emotions and experience consequences. Parents and teachers can read these stories for the little ones and discuss them as a group”.

The pediatrician also recommends these fun games:

1. Choose photographs in which people are expressing fear, joy, anger, disgust, sadness or surprise. The child will earn points if they can identify what those who appear in the selected images might be feeling.

2. Puppets are also ideal for exercising understanding of emotions. We can build at home, with recyclable materials, a mini theater and some puppets that show frequent scenes at home. The child could be represented in one of the leading figures in the story and behave the same as him. You will see yourself in a "mirror" and reflect on your behavior. The characters could also be emotions (as raised in the movie Intense-Mind).

3. Playing in front of the mirror to represent emotions through faces is also fun. This dynamic will allow the child to recognize himself in one or more emotional manifestations.

4. Constructing two identical figures for each emotion with cardboard will be used to play with the boy and test his memory, while he becomes familiar with the emotions: the figures must be disordered and face down. The game consists of finding the pairs.

The pediatrician recommends adults

1. Learn relaxation therapies to apply to your children: "If in a stressful moment the child is able to remain calm (even if he feels anger, for example) he will handle the situation properly instead of screaming, hitting and crying."

2. Share with the child the feelings of other people: "When we put ourselves 'in the shoes of others' we can understand them better."

In networks - Doctor Eduardo Hernández


Instagram: @dr.eduardo.pediatra and @terapiadelaconductainfantil



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