Jenn and I are blessed with two amazing children. Based on our unorthodox family circumstances, are children not being blood related, we have two very different children. Constantly reminding ourselves, and each other how different they are, that they require two completely opposite parenting styles. Zyler is an emotional, anxious, little boy. He has a difficult time with expressing himself, and fights with hiding his big heart that oozes out in big emotional ways. Alex is much the opposite, heart on her sleeve, she is not afraid to tell you just how she is feeling. Her outbursts get her into trouble more often than not and she struggles with reeling in her emotions.
A big challenge as parents, we do our best with balancing being fair to them both, while accepting and nurturing their two differing personalities. Is one easier than the other? Not at all. With Zyler it takes tact and strategy, when it comes to approach and timing. On the other hand, with Alex, you have to constantly be on your game, ready to intervene when the emotions come boiling out… ugh, I love those kids. Parenting is tough work, especially when the children have their own battles. Our kids get into it, and it gets ugly. Zyler, the older brother, fights for the attention, that his sister naturally adopts, which comes out as frustration and closes him off. Alex has zero of that tact or strategy, fighting her brother with her big voice and strong words, because she doesn’t understand him.
Mix all that with Jenn and my own personalities and our home can be an absolute hodge podge. My laid back approach, and wordy lectures are very different from Jenns straight forward, pro activeness. It has become paramount that our little home faces emotions directly. We actively try to teach our children the names and differences of our feelings, and using them at appropriate times. Utilizing flash cards, computer games, and what ever media possible to assist us in the education. Then we found a great book, that has a magic way of explaining emotions to children.
In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek was published in 2014. A young girl explains how, when her heart feels a certain colour that she is feeling a different way. Ranging from bright yellow sheer joy, to dark blue miserable sadness, she has a colour to represent every major emotion. The book is successful in educating young children in a method that is approachable for them. Also it is very effective in its representations, and does not shy away from the more difficult, or unwanted emotions. The art is adorable, with each colour heart a cut out to the next, when the book is closed we see the rainbow of feelings in all of our hearts.
Education on emotions has become very important in raising children. As seen in the Pixar film Inside Out, being able to talk about the hard feelings is an important part of growing up in the world today. All parents want their children to be confident, honest and sympathetic people. Books such as In My Heart, are great assets to modern parenting and I recommend it to all of you. Especially the parents like us who struggle with nurturing very emotional children. And do not be afraid to let your kids know how you are feeling, especially the harder emotions, they are learning from us and it is important to represent the qualities you want them to have.
Thanks booknerds, now if only I could get my daughter to stop eating dirt.