Emotional Skills for Kids - Helping them learn healthy skills

Emotional Skills For Kids

Oh, emotional skills. How we all need them.

I was down in the basement, hanging up wet clothes from the washer and I heard the sweetest sound a mom can hear.

Belly giggles.

All three girls, at the same time, laughing real big laughs in unison.

“That truly is the best sound on earth…” I thought to myself.


Then, I heard one of the worst sounds a mom hears in a day… tears.

Loud sobs and a big wail.

Trouble in paradise… couldn’t the laughter have lasted a tiny bit longer?

I headed upstairs with a basket of clean clothes while saying in my mom voice, “What’s wrong? Who’s hurt?”

Surely someone was hurt with that kind of racket going on upstairs.

I rounded the corner to the main floor and saw Elayna looking upset, Abby crying and Annalise with a face that said, “I have no idea what happened!”

Setting the basket down on the floor, I quickly made an assessment of the situation, just by the looks on their faces.

Elayna had done something in anger.

Abby had been instigating and was now crying because of whatever Elayna did in retaliation.

Annalise, happily, had no idea.

“Mommy… my anger got away from me… I didn’t mean to!”

“She hurt me!”


An incredibly fast shift from happiness to anger to hurt to revenge to tears to spite to… whatever else they could possibly feel in that moment. An incredible flood of emotions hitting their sweet hearts.

I mean… really. You’d never know it from these sparkling faces, would you?

Emotional Skills For Kids - Helping Our Kids Deal With Emotions


But, these girls, like any kids, can get wrapped up in what they are feeling or thinking or wanting.

Then, all those feelings begin to effect what they do and say and think.

Moms wonder, “What do I do with this?”

How do we train our kids to handle those emotional waves?

How do we give them good emotional skills?

How do we guide them back from spite to love?

How do we build life emotional skills in those moments when feelings reign and dictate their actions?

How do we help them focus on themselves and what God is doing in them instead of the mistakes of others?

Emotional Skills For Kids - Helping Our Kids Deal With Emotions


I want my kids to realize that their feelings are created by God within them for a purpose. The feelings themselves are not bad. Acting on the feelings before thinking is where things often go awry.

Feelings are not an excuse for bad behavior or mean actions.

Feelings, if allowed to run free, will cause deep pain and heartache for everyone.

Yet, it is the feelings, emotions, and heart passions inside of us that make us compassionate, caring, giving, loving, helpful, empathetic.

As a mom, I have the job of making sure they understand how to use those feelings for the good of those around them.

Teaching patience and kindness and forgiveness and peace.

Giving them the gift of thinking about others, caring for how the other person is feeling.

Giving them skills to live in a society that says you can have it all, have it your way and get what you want.

There are some key phrases and things that I’m teaching my kids to help them in those times where they want to negatively act on feelings and emotions.

Good Emotional Skills

Self-control. Keep your hands and your words to yourself when you are angry. {When I say self control, they fold their hands to help them remember!}

Ask God. How does He want you to respond to this situation?

Look at your heart. What did you do to contribute to the situation?

Be a peacemaker. How can you help calm things down? Do you need to say your sorry and ask for forgiveness. Do you need to offer forgiveness?

Don’t run away. This is KEY. Running off alone, pouting, thinking angry thoughts or letting sinful behavior ruin fun play is not acceptable. Face the situation and do your best to make it right. If a time-out is needed to calm down, that is different than just running away. Don’t confuse the two. Kids should not just run off to their room when they are upset as if running fixes the problem. That doesn’t solve the heart of the issue or help heal the situation. I don’t want to isolate them. I want to teach them.

You control you. You can’t control how the other person is going to respond. You can only do what is right and then pray that God will work in their heart too. Do what is right anyway whether you think they will respond well or not.

Give it to God. Don’t hold grudges or allow past hurts to effect today. Truly forgive and let God bring healing.

Seek Resolution. Not just an angry, “I’m sorry.” A true resolution takes time, talking it out and making sure that all sides understand and have been heard.

Go to God’s Word. The Bible is FULL of verses about our emotions, our feelings and our ability to overcome with His help! How can you let God help you do it better next time?

Journal. Once they can begin to write out their feelings, let them do it in a safe place that they know you will go over with them. Not a place to write mean things or be hateful, but place where they can work things out and allow God to speak to them. Some of my favorite conversations have come about when Elayna and I go over her journal together.

Remembering that these things, this process of learning to handle emotions will teach valuable life lessons. Lessons of conflict resolution, relationship skills, friendship tools and self-worth… things that will last a lifetime.

Moms, it’s never too early to start teaching good emotional skills.

There might be times that they don’t seem to understand or multiple days of big emotions.

We work on the process and the principles anyway. They slowly learn the emotional skills necessary to mature, grow and develop life relationships.

We push them to grow, challenge them to think big, and guide them as they mature into young people who will be able to handle their emotions and feelings in godly ways.

Being a girl is not an excuse for wild emotions and crazy feelings.

Being a kid is not an excuse for bad behavior.

Learning to allow God to control emotions is an opportunity to be uniquely used by Him in amazing ways.

Even in the moments when all three of our children are crying over something, Jeremy and I can look at each other and know that God is using us, their parents, to train, teach and develop three precious hearts for His glory.

What are some ways that you help your kids deal with emotions?

What good emotional skills do you teach?


  1. excellent post! I tell my 3 girls everyday that it is okay to feel emotions but we don’t have to react to everything we are feeling. Undortunately, the message would hit home better if Mommy could get a better handle on HER emotions!

  2. Good post Jenilee! Having had three girls myself I remember how things like this happen. I think you mentioned some valuable things here…and I wish I had handled the emotional things better back then. You brought up so many good points, and valuable verses and biblical truths. (:>)

    (I played the Tag Game…so if you want to go read my answers and random facts I have the post up. I wasn’t sure who would have the time to play along, so I just invited whoever wanted to to participate.)

    Love, Linda

  3. Thanks Jenilee!
    I think we can apply many of these things to our boys as well as Hannah. I am just a little overwhelmed raising a girl. She was a baby and them BAM she’s not…and she’s naughty! It was like she became a “person” as Matt would say, overnight. All of a sudden we’re dealing with things we never encountered before. Hopefully we’ll be more aware of what to curb lots earlier with Molly.

  4. oh yes girl fights can be horrible but then they love each other the next minute and would do anything for each other!

    Sisters stick together though thick and thin!

    on a side note I just got my outdoor clothes line ready to dry clothes outside I can’t wait I love drying clothes outside! 🙂

  5. You have hit on a LOT of what we’re struggling with with our 2 boys! Boys aren’t too much different from girls! Thanks for these ideas, you’ve really got me thinking…and praying how to better help them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *