This is a phrase we say often at Thompson Child Therapy. Parents come to us for a variety of reasons, but generally, it’s to figure out the reason behind their child’s big emotions. The thing is, the problem is not the problem. To break it down:

The thing your child is upset about is not nearly as important as their feelings being heard. This may seem obvious, but if your child is having an explosive reaction, your first instinct as a parent is going to be: remove the thing causing the reaction.

But when it comes to general stress, your kid doesn’t need to go into every detail about their current challenge so you can offer suggestions to help. Most of the time, they aren’t looking for that kind of information from you. And the problem isn’t the thing causing the inappropriate reaction.

Plus, they can think creatively and solve their own problems.

You might be thinking – there’s no way my kid can move past their overwhelm to do what they want to do. But there actually is. When your kid is freaking out, their brain tricks them into thinking they can’t do things BECAUSE they cannot decrease the intensity of their emotions on their own… until they learn the skills to do so. Before entering problem solving mode – whether that means asking parents for help or searching for answers – 

  1. Your child must first feel their feelings in a healthy way
  2. Understand what they are feeling 
  3. And learn how to decrease the intensity

Rather than embark on a mission to figure out a solution to your kid’s problem of the day, observe what is happening emotionally for them. And if you want extra support, learn more about our Parent Workshops. We offer support for parents of Highly Sensitive Children and Teens and go over how to help your child manage their emotions effectively.

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