One of the challenges of parenting is being able to manage all of the emotions that come up for us.
We all feel a lot and our children really bring out the best and the worst in us. For some of us we had parents that really helped us learn how to soothe our emotions. For others, we may not have had that skill taught to us and might not be able to handle all of the emotions we feel. Our children serve as little gurus for us and help us to focus towards better management of our feelings.
Emotion regulation happens when we acknowledge As Dads that we can do better at this and start to pay attention to our internal states through mindful reflection.
When we can see how our child triggers us in certain situations we can start to get more curious about how this comes up for us. By bringing more awareness to this trigger we can allow it to happen without moving towards an unhealthy behavior.
Most of what I teach around emotions is learning how to be with them and let them happen without any corresponding behavior.
You can feel angry but this doesn’t allow for aggression. You can be sad but not go into blaming behavior. As we start to separate the emotion from the behavior we allow ourselves to be with our children in a way that lets them be who they are and not force them to take care of our emotions. (Here’s a little more on the topic in an article I wrote for Elephant Journal.)