If you’ve ever been on an airplane, there’s a time during the safety procedures where the flight attendant says if the oxygen masks drop, put yours on first before helping your child with theirs. For many parents, the first reaction is usually, “What?? No way! I need to make sure my child is safe first!” But if you take a step back and think about it, the flight attendant makes a good point. What good are we to our children if we don’t get enough oxygen? How can we continue to help them if we can’t breathe?
The same thing goes for helping children deal with worry. If we do not take care of our own fears and concerns, how helpful can we really be to help them deal with theirs? When we work on managing our own feelings, we do three things:
- We become much better at recognizing emotions.
- We view feelings as a normal part of our everyday experience rather than something to avoid, ignore, or be ruled by.
- We are much less likely to let our feelings and reactions get in the way of helping the children in our lives deal with theirs.
At the end of the day, as adults, we lead by example. Children watch the way we handle our feelings and our challenges. The better we can be at showing our children feelings are part of life, that we all have these issues, and that we are capable of feeling better, the more they will benefit.
Now, return your seatbacks and tray tables to their upright positions, smile more, and worry less!