As a parent, it is natural to want to teach your child ways to make their lives as minimally stressful as possible. Many parents make the unfortunate mistake of doing this by teaching their children avoidance tactics. Although these tactics may provide some level of immediate comfort, they can often lead to long-term consequences. It is better to intentionally seek out discomfort through certain situations in order to teach your child how to live with negative emotions without letting them dictate their lives.
- Trying to eliminate all distress has the long-term consequence of causing avoidance to become the default coping strategy.
- Adults often delegitimize children’s emotions by telling them they shouldn’t feel how they feel.
- A better approach toward parenting allows children to feel difficult emotions and gives them a model of what it’s like to experience them.
“And yet, my work as a clinical psychologist has led me to believe that the most loving gift that I can give my kids is to hold space for each and every one of their emotions, no matter how distressing, without trying to diffuse or extinguish them.”