How I Helped My Son When He Was Feeling Sad

Earlier today, my oldest came into the room looking for me, super sad and crying because his brother had destroyed something he made.

I invited him to come in and sit on my lap.

I told him it was okay to feel sad and just held him.

Of course he feels sad! I’d feel sad, too.

As he cried, he told me he was hungry and wanted to go eat.

I told him that sometimes we want to eat when we are sad because it distracts us from the sadness, but that doesn’t fix the sadness – and then asked him, “How about we tend to the sadness first, and then if you are still hungry, you can eat something?”

Through his tears and gasps for air, he told me he couldn’t and that he didn’t know how.

I told him, “Let’s just sit here and give the sadness some love.”

And then, I asked him to relax and just tell me how sad felt – and I guided him with some simple questions.

Me: “Where do you feel the sadness in your body?”

Him: (Loudly and frantically, while moving his hands all over his body) “Everywhere! All over my body!!”

Me: “Okay, great! How about telling me just one spot where you feel it?”

Him: (Pointing to his gut) “Right here!!”

Me: “Okay. Is it big or little?”

Him: “Big! Super duper big!! As big as the whole world!!!” (Ah brains, they can be dramatic sometimes! 😆)

Me: “Okay. What shape is it? A circle? A square? … “

Him: “A circle. A super duper big circle!”

Me: “Okay. Is it heavy or light?”

Him: “Heavy. Sooooo heavy.”

Me: “Okay. Now, I want you to see if you can breathe some love to that sadness. Take a slow, deep breath in and see if you can get the air all the way down to that sadness.”

Him: (Breathing)

Me: “Great. How is the sadness feeling now?”

Him: “A little bit better.”

Me: “Ok. Give it some more love. Take another breath. A bigger breath, and see if you can get it all the way to that sadness.”

Him (Taking more breaths, and then pointing to his leg above his knee): “Now the sadness is all the way down to here!”

Me: “Great! See if you get your breath all the way down there.”

Him: “All the way?!”

Me: “Yep!”

Him: (Taking more breaths, and then pointing to his toes) “Now it’s all the way down to here!”

Me: “Wow! Okay. Take another breath and see if you can get the air all the way to your toes!”

Him: (Breathing)

Me: “Now how does the sadness feel?”

Him (A little confused): “Hmm…. It’s all gone!!”

Me: “You feel better?”

Him: “Ya!”

Me: “Yep! When you’re feeling sad, you can give yourself a little extra love with your breath, and that will help you feel better – even if the feeling stays with you. And you can do that with anything you’re feeling!”

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It’s challenging to hold space for our children’s emotions when we have a hard time holding space for our own emotions – because their “negative” emotions can be triggers for us in thinking we need to fix it or make it go away to be a “good” parent. It can bring up our own subconscious judgment of ourselves as parents, and then what happens (that we don’t even realize is happening!!) is that really we are wanting our kids to “feel better” so that WE feel better.

Most of us have never been taught this. We’ve never been taught much of anything about our emotions besides the labels themselves (you know… happy, sad, angry, etc…) – let alone what to do with those feelings when we’re in them. We’ve never been taught how to process emotion in a way that serves us, or how to use our emotions to create the life experience we most desire. So, of course, we don’t know what to do when are kids have emotions, either!

Enter life coaching! Life coaching teaches us all kinds of tools to help us experience life in a completely different way, where we feel more empowered and in charge of our lives and less like life just “is the way it is” or like life is just happening to us.

Now, conversations about emotions with my kids don’t always go like this. I am a human after all! And sometimes I totally flip my lid and act out my own negative emotions instead of being able to sit with whatever is coming up for me while holding space for whatever is coming up for them. (And often in these cases, after the fact, I then get coaching!! To understand what happened in my brain and make more conscious decisions going forward.)

It is a practice.

That being said, each time I have a conversation like this, I’m reminded of what a beautiful practice it is, and remain in awe of all the love and connection I feel after the experience.

On top of that, I’m totally fascinated by how easy and natural it is for my child to go into his body and describe his feelings to me with such detail. BLOWS. MY. MIND. every time.

If my 5 year old can do this – you can too. 

It’s seems scarier than it actually is. (Took me over 6 months after joining a coaching program to actually try this!!) Our brains are afraid we can’t handle it. But, we are MADE to handle emotion my friends. And all self confidence really is is being willing to fail and knowing you can handle any emotion.

So, this my friends, is how to feel an emotion. Sit with it. Go into your body. Lean in. Breathe. Feel it – as in, feel what it feels like as sensations in your body. Breathe some more. Pay attention to how it changes. Keep breathing.

Know that feeling your emotions doesn’t have to look like anything.

Keep breathing and let it be there for as long as it wants to stay.

Doing this will help your body process the emotion faster than if you are resisting it, reacting to it / acting it out, or avoiding it.

If you have questions about this, send me a message!

Learning just this one tool and applying it can completely change your life.

After all, EVERY THING we do or don’t do is because of how we feel. #truestory

Mastering your emotions helps you master your life. And empowering our kids with these tools changes their lives forever, too.

If you’d like more personalized help learning tools like this that you can apply to yourself and teach to your kids, let’s chat!

You can book a free consult at bookme.name/coachingwithdeise/free-consult.

💕 Deise

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Fun fact: This post has been my most popular post to date.  It reached almost 12,000 people in less than 24 hours of me posting – without Facebook ads!!  If you are someone who helped share this post – thank you!!

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