How to “KID SPEAK” about ENVY, SHAME & EMBARRASSMENT

This is how to teach your children.

Envy is wanting or wishing you had something someone else has or had (a friend, party invitation, a toy)

When you feel envy remember to give the person you envy a compliment (you have great friends)

Next, immediately tell your child to give themselves a compliment and tell themselves what makes them so special (unique)

Shame is knowing you made a mistake or did something wrong and you wish you hadn’t done it; not proud

When your kids feel shame teach them by saying a phrase like this, “You didn’t mean to do that and you feel bad about it, but forgive yourself, because everyone makes mistakes”.

Next, teach your kids the ‘right’ way to apologize to get rid of the shame. Make sure kids don’t just say “I’m sorry” they show they are sorry, by doing extra good deeds towards the person they ‘wronged’ or learning consequences by not being able to play with the person they treated badly

Embarrassed is associated with shame, but mostly the child is self-conscious about how they behaved and their body tells them that out loud by making their cheeks red.

Tell your kids to have their body help them deal with this feeling. Say, “turn your head or drop your head and eyes just for a second, especially if people are starring at you, just so you cut off connection with others so you can collect your thoughts”.

Then tell your child when you are embarrassed you don’t have to leave or be ashamed you just need to change what you are doing at the time (take a step back or swing your arms at your sides) to help the embarrassment go away or just say, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to burp”. Most people around you will smile and the moment is over.

How you feel doesn’t need to be mystery. Remember to model for your kids what a feeling is called, what you do about it and how to get rid of it.

If you have techniques that work for you and your family to show their feelings, please share as we all could use a little more emotional education.

Looking forward to learning from you all, Dr. Ann