Feelings. We don’t really know what to do when someone is having really big feelings about something. When I became a parent, I had just about finished my masters in marriage and family therapy. I had been studying attachment and trauma along with what makes a relationship healthy, and I thought I was prepared for parenting.
I’m Rebecca Thompson Hitt and this is Better Relationships in 2 minutes.
My son was difficult to soothe as an infant and as he grew, he expressed really intense feelings. I really didn’t know how to help him. I held him and rocked him, trying to figure out what he needed, but I didn’t have a clue what else could be happening for him. Later we discovered he was allergic to many foods and it helped us to understand a little more about what we were seeing, but it still didn’t help us to support him through his big feelings. All I had for tools in my pocket were things like time-out and punishing him to try to stop the feelings and behavior, but it didn’t work. In fact, it seemed to make things worse.
Have you felt like this, too? What happens for you when someone you love is expressing big feelings? Just notice what that’s like for you. Whose feelings are most difficult for you? What do you do when they’re expressed? Is it different when it is sadness vs anger vs happiness?
I’ll be back tomorrow to share more about how we, as a culture, got to this place where we don’t know what to do with feelings and how you can discover more about your own feeling story.