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How do I talk to my child about their emotions?

Catherine Mogil, PsyD
Psychology
You can begin talking to your kids about their emotions by talking about four basic feelings: mad, sad, scared and happy. There are clearly a lot more feelings that exist, but these four basic feelings seem to be the most universal that most people relate to and experience in everyday life. A parent's job is really complex when it comes to emotions because these feelings occur along a continuum.

For example, happy feelings can range from content to joyful, all the way up to ecstatic. For mad, a person can be a little bit mad, annoyed or frustrated, or really, really, really mad and furious. Most kids don't have the ability at a young age to figure out the different ranges of emotions. A parent's job is to help them with this and to help them put into words how they are feeling in the moment.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.