An ongoing series of informational entries

Helping Your Child Express Feelings

January 1, 2018

As a mental health counselor I have worked with many children (and adults) over the past 30 years that have suffered a traumatic life event.  The death of a parent, a military parent deploying, a beloved pet passing, divorce, abuse, or changing schools are all major events that can cause significant stress for your child.

How do we as adults help our child express these very big feelings? 

     First, it is important to understand everyone expresses their feelings differently.  Some children may suddenly feel insecure, withdraw from activities, act out, have problems sleeping, or develop problems in school. 

     Assure your child you will be there for him or her no matter what, ask teachers/friends/family for help or support, and express your feelings openly and honestly.  Reassure your child it is normal to have a range of feelings, and be prepared for those big feelings to come and go.  In addition, help your child find ways to express feelings appropriately and allow your child to talk about his or her feelings freely. 

     Patience on your behalf is going to be very important during this difficult time in your child's life.


1.  Encourage your child to create a picture showing his or her emotions.

2.  Read a book about feelings.

3.  Make a memory book or scrapbook.

4.  Exercise with your child.

5.  Practice relaxation and deep breathing techniques.

6.  Teach your child simple self-care skills.

Final note: Be open and honest so your child knows it is okay to ask questions - even if you don't always have the answer. This lets your child know it is okay to ask, and that you care about what he or she is going through.

If your child is struggling to communicate his or her feelings or is struggling in other ways, please feel free to contact me at (608) 215-7767 or another mental health professional for assistance.