Children experience emotions before they fully understand them. They also express emotions before they fully understand them.
I often watch my two-year son, Cameron, get so frustrated and angry when he is unable to untangle his Henry Hoover. He ends up biting it or throwing it.
When he does this, it’s him simply expressing his emotion. In this instance, it is anger and frustration. He’s not yet developed the ability to understand why he is feeling such a way and his only output of this feeling is to bite or throw the hoover.
Many adults take this for granted and sometimes expect children to be born knowing how to behave and act and manage themselves.
Adults have habitually learnt this over the years, and children will do so too.
As children learn to understand their own emotions, they also learn overtime to manage them. When they have learnt this, they are able to communicate their feelings. This aids their ability to perceive and understand the opinions of others, which leads to a connection with family, friends, teachers and pretty much the world.
When we can understand our own emotions, we can experience empathy. Empathy is crucial to the understanding of right from wrong.
I always say the human body is incredible. Everything we have has a purpose — even our emotions.
What would happen if we didn’t feel? We wouldn’t cry when we were upset; we wouldn’t get angry or feel happy and most important of all we wouldn’t love.
Imagine a world without love.
As we get older, we know what our emotions are and why we feel them. Children have not yet learnt this. All they do is explore. They don’t have the mental maturity to understand why they think a certain way or how to deal with it. They feel.
In some ways, this is beautiful as in children; you see the emotion in its raw state. It’s pure and organic.
My son, I would say, is quite an emotion-driven fellow. He gets angry, and it’s a big deal, he shows love and its a big deal. In-fact he shows many emotions, and it’s a big deal.
Sometimes I think “boy this is tough” and it is but then I remember how amazing it is that my son feels his emotions in such volume. The more he experiences his feelings, the more he learns how to manage them.
He will also learn to recognise emotions in others, and he will develop empathy.
He can only understand how others are feeling if he understands his own feelings.
So, I am all for emotional children. It’s up to us as adults to teach children how to manage themselves and their emotions.
But it is very healthy for children to be emotional.