Dragons Feel Sad, Too

Does your child ever hide pain behind a “mask” of anger? It can feel vulnerable to show sadness, embarrassment, or hurt feelings. Looking angry may make a child feel ‘strong’ and disguise other emotions. Call it the “it’s too embarrassing to be embarrassed” line of defense.

I recently visited with a middle school guidance counselor who helps 11- to -14-year-olds work through a range of issues. Often, students with emotional bruises show an angry face, she says. When a child shouts or acts hostile, it’s easy to be blindsided and miss the chance to find out more about the source of the outburst.

So let’s help children of all ages verbalize their feelings and see that it’s okay to discuss big feelings with trusted people. Let’s help toddlers and pre-schoolers build a “feelings vocabulary” and help them learn the names of different feelings. Then, let’s encourage children to talk about times they feel sad or disappointed.

As a parent, I’m taking this guidance counselor’s advice: Remember to listen and look for things that might be in the background. Because dragons feel sad, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>