EP270: What we teach young people about emotion

I often hear parents say these things to their children about emotion:  

“You decide how you feel.” “You choose your reactions.” “What other people say has no meaning except the meaning you give it.”

We can ask ourselves: Are these things we heard somewhere that seem helpful, or are they our direct experience? Do you–mom or dad or aunt or uncle or teacher–decide how you feel? Or is that just an empowering statement you hope is true?

I don’t think we can go wrong when we share from our own direct experience. 

It’s also worth exploring the flip side of these “empowering” statements. What happens when your child is told they are in charge of their own feelings and their feelings continue to be painful? What conclusions might they draw? 

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