Cultural Messages About Feelings: Better Relationships in 2 Minutes #3

Have you ever been out in public with your child who is having some sort of big emotional expression? It doesn’t matter if it is exuberantly happy or screaming on the ground. What does it feel like to be out in public in a situation like that?

I’m Rebecca Thompson Hitt and this is Better Relationships in 2 Minutes and today we’re going to look at our cultural messages about feelings.

I know for me, every cell in my body wants me to make it stop. And in me, I feel all the energy going into quieting my child and shame for having a loud child.

We value logic in our culture. We value rational thinking and responses. We cultivate it in school with our emphasis on sitting quietly and doing what we’re told. There is no room in school for emotions. I used to be really emotionally sensitive and would cry sometimes in school (like when I thought I was adopted because I didn’t look like my parents) and I can tell you that there isn’t a lot of room for feelings in school.

But it’s true in our families, too. If it isn’t logical, we don’t know what to do with it and feelings aren’t necessarily logical. We are more likely to be able to deal with feelings when we understand why they’re happening. “You broke your arm… Ok. It makes sense that you’re crying.” “Something upsetting happened to you earlier today? It’s over and it doesn’t do any good to cry about it. Stop crying.”

What’s it like for you when your child or someone out in public is expressing big feelings? What do you feel in your own body? What’s it like if you’re a parent and your child is expressing big feelings? Just notice and share your experience.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a quick brain primer and how logic and feelings are actually in different parts of the brain and why that matters.


Rebecca Thompson Hitt

Rebecca is the founder of The Consciously Parenting Project, LLC, and author of 3 books (Consciously Parenting: What it really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families, Creating Connection: Essential Tools for Growing Families through Conception, Birth and Beyond, and Nurturing Connection: What Parents Need to Know about Emotional Expression and Bonding), numerous classes and recordings, and the former co-host of a radio show, True North Parents.

Rebecca Thompson Hitt has 199 posts and counting. See all posts by Rebecca Thompson Hitt

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