Written By: David Vick, The Hope and Growth Center
SOMETIMES OUR CHILDREN’S EMOTIONS can offer a glimpse into their little souls. Other times, however, their emotions simply point to factors much more mundane, such as too much sugar, a stomachache, or a lack of sleep.
If your car doesn’t start, hopefully you won’t run out and get a full set of tires and overhaul the engine. Too often, however, parents fear that their child has a serious psychological disorder when it makes much more sense to first consider the simpler and more common causes of emotional difficulties.
If you have any doubt of whether your child needs assistance, please schedule a time to visit with a professional who can assist you. In the meantime, here are a few simple questions that may shed light on your child’s emotions, and yours!
- Did they rest well last night?
- Are they sick or recovering from an illness?
- Are they on medications?
- What did they eat for breakfast, and did they even eat breakfast?
- How are they hard-wired? What is “normal” for your child?
- How is their environment affecting them?
- Is a weather front moving through your area?
- Is there structure in your schedule?
- Is there a recent inconsistency in the way you and other authority figures are interacting with your child?
- Is your child’s emotion a response to your emotion? Do their emotions reflect yours?
Three More Serious Considerations
- Does my child have an ongoing medical condition?
- Does my child have a neurodevelopmental issue, or a lifelong struggle associated with their brain function?
- Does my child have a more serious psychological struggle?
Remember that it is rarely one issue that affects our mood swings. If we are tired, hungry, and catching a cold, we will be much more vulnerable to emotional highs and lows. Like everyone else, even children with more serious issues have their own ups and downs physically, socially, and emotionally. Don’t assume that a dysregulation in yourself or your child is due to a single factor since it is often more complicated.
Simply identifying the source of high emotion does not complete the work. Another way to emphasize this point: None of the factors mentioned above should cause us to become callous to our child’s emotions. These factors are most often not the cause of emotions, but rather a megaphone for those emotions which are already present.
Emotions – with all of their lovely ecstatic highs and painfully morose lows – can actually help us become aware of the precise issues we need to address. That is where trained therapists can help you in the challenge. If we can assist you or your children, give us a call at the Hope and Growth Center.
This article is copyrighted by Step Toward Peace and David Vick. You can read much more about dealing with your children’s emotions in David’s book, Emotions – Your Child’s and Yours: Encouragements to Help Your Relationship Thrive, which is available on Amazon.