As parents, we never want our children to be sad, or at least to stay sad for long, do we?
The thing is, it is just as necessary for us to validate their pain or sadness, just as it is to acknowledge their success or happiness. Being their rescuer every time they feel sad is not always the best thing to do – as children need to learn how to self-regulate their feelings.
So, the best thing to do is to help them work through their feelings and emotions and tell them it’s ok for them to be angry sometimes, or sad.
Tell Him you Understand
When you tell a child that you understand how they are feeling they will know they are not alone in their feelings.
Tell them how you handle YOUR own emotions, and perhaps tell them about a time when you were feeling particularly sad and how you handled it. This would be a good opportunity to really bond with your child or teen.
Listening is of Prime Importance
Sometimes a child is able to tell you what is wrong and why they are feeling so sad, but more often than not, they can’t, but just remember that by simply listening to your child, you are probably well on the way to fixing it!
Repeat back to the child what he or she is telling you, so they are aware that you are truly listening. Being empathetic with your child is so important because it will also teach them to show empathy towards others. You could say something like;
“I really wish I could help you and fix whatever it is but I will certainly be here for you and be supportive whilst you figure it out and if you need to have a talk I am always here for you”.
One of my clients whose child Thomas (8) I was seeing for “sadness” says:
“ I took Tom to see Elaine at Focus Hypnotherapy, as I felt she would be able to get into his sub-conscious mind where I believed all the sadness was lurking. Elaine explained to me that nearly all children actually ARE living in their sub-conscious minds until around the age of nine or ten years old. She advised me to get Tom out of the house ( he was becoming a bit of a hermit) So I suggested one day that we go out on a bit of an adventure – he wanted to go fishing so that’s what we did and spent a great afternoon ( in the rain) fishing and talking! We didn’t actually come up with anything that seemed to be causing the sadness, but he did say he felt much better at the end of the day and he has since started opening up to me more. Elaine also taught him about having a growth mind-set and this seems to have done wonders for his low self- esteem!”
Thomas did really well after a few sessions and a couple more outings with mum or dad on his own. Sometimes it doesn’t take much but if you feel your child needs professional help for the sadness, do contact someone.
Being Happy and Sad at the Same Time
At times, children have a hard time believing that they CAN be happy and sad at the same time. They CAN feel two different emotions so do let them know that they can allow themselves to feel happy even though at times they may feel sad ( after the death of a loved one or a family pet for example – they feel guilty being happy!) so, just let them know it’s ok!
It’s also very important for your child or teen to understand that you love him “no matter what” – it doesn’t matter if they are feeling sad, angry, happy or frustrated – these feelings are all part of life and we all feel them.
But what if my child was one of a twin, but the other twin did not Survive?
Losing a twin, even at birth, is devastating for a child. This will need specialist therapy and I will be doing a blog on this particular subject next month as there is so much to cover. However, if you have lost a twin (or your child has lost a twin) do contact me for further information. It’s so important to make sure the child understands why he is feeling such sadness.
For more information on how to cope with a sad or depressed child please contact me at: