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Don’t label your child as too emotional

Children go through a lot of transitions, which might lead to outbursts and temper tantrums. It’s important that instead of labelling them as ‘emotional’, you offer unconditional support

Emotional outbursts tend to differ according to age as well. And parents need to understand that. Photo: Pixabay

By Dr Paula Goel

LAST PUBLISHED 19.06.2023  |  01:00 PM IST

All living beings go through myriad emotions—and children are no different. However, there are times when parents label their children as being too emotional. But is that really so? Could there be another reason behind a child’s behaviour? Emotional outbursts tend to differ according to age as well. And parents need to understand that.

Younger children, often, are unable to express themselves if they are hungry or sleepy. This lack of expression leads to frustration and anger, and this is manifested in the form of crying, or a temper tantrum. Sometimes, if a child us unwell— having a severe headache or body ache—the feeling of being sick is expressed through tears or irritability.

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As the child grows, their needs and expectations change. They are able to communicate more effectively. They make new friends and start coming out of the cocoon of family protection. There might be situations when they feel let down or bullied by their peers. Their self-esteem and confidence might get affected, leading to feelings of anger, irritation and frustration.

Also read: Is binge watching OTT content impacting your teen’s mental health?

In the teen years, hormonal changes within the body impact the moods as well. A teenager goes through a flux situation, trying to cope with changes, both internal and external. Attraction to the opposite gender might lead to heartbreaks as well, thus evoking an emotional response to the situation. 

There are also instances when kids may need medical attention: in case of anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder, eating disorders, being on the autism spectrum, and more.

What can you do as a parent?

First, try to calm yourself. A calm parent can understand a sensitive child better than an anxious parent. Consider your child’s temperament, and act accordingly. Assess your child’s needs and expectations and provide support accordingly. 

It’s important that you adjust to your children’s environment, and give them space. Provide support and unconditional love. Let your child know that you are always available, in case they need any help.

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Try not to control your child’s life. Understand the transitions that they are going through, and adapt accordingly. In such situations, validate your child’s emotions. Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle with adequate sleep, physical activity, screen time and healthy diet. Take professional help when required.

Dr Paula Goel is a Mumbai-based pediatrician and adolescent specialist.