“Don’t be sad.”
“You shouldn’t feel scared.”
“Stop being angry.”
“You don’t need to get your feelings hurt over it.”
“You should be so thankful.”
It’s not uncommon to hear parents addressing their children with comments or corrections involving how a child should or should not feel. This is especially true with emotions many deem “negative” such as hurt, fear, anger, and sadness. Though these admonishments may be well-intentioned, I believe they miss the mark on what human beings are supposed to do. We are, by our very nature, highly emotional beings capable of experiencing a broad range of sentiments. If children are consistently taught to ignore or squelch “bad” emotions, they will likely be unprepared for life. A healthier, more holistic approach is to empower our children emotionally by teaching them to experience and express a wide range of emotions, and help them learn to regulate their emotions when necessary.
Emotional empowerment has five primary stages. Parents can practice each of these stages with their child no matter the child’s age. These are fundamental skills that everyone needs. Developing the ability to identify, express, and regulate emotions is a life-long process, one in which there is always room for growth and improvement. As such, parents can serve as models for their own children as every member of the family seeks to grow and mature.
3 min read
“Don’t be sad.”
4 min read
Dancing is often considered an activity for a select few, namely those who have a natural ability for creative movement, those who are graceful, those who gravitate towards music and have an innate sense of rhythm. In recent years, youth dance has also been portrayed in a certain way thanks to media exposure such as the popular Lifetime television series "Dance Moms." These platforms cast dance as a dramatic, competitive, even sexualized activity for children and youth, especially girls. Through my experience as a dancer and dance instructor for the last 15 years, I have come to see that these two basic understandings of dance--that it is for a select few and that it is largely dramatic and competitive--are misconceptions worth dispelling.
6 min read
Books have a way of shaping who we are. As a former second grade teacher, I know first-hand what impact reading can have on a young mind. There are, of course, the essential literacy skills built through reading from exposure to books from the earliest years of a child's life and through elementary school. But of equal value to literacy skills are the ideas presented in children's books, lessons about life, that influence a child and help to shape who they are.