This is even more important for young children who do not yet have as much experience understanding and interpreting stressful experiences. Parents help young children construct narratives about what happened that can help them better understand their experiences, and therefore better regulate their emotions. But just as you don’t want to hear “well, I just don’t understand why you felt that way” or “you were just being difficult,” neither does your child!
By helping your child create a coherent, validated narrative about what happened, your child can begin to understand the sequence of events and emotions and can learn to predict and control future emotions. A coherent narrative about a past stressful experience helps children gain control over their emotional experiences, to not let emotions at the moment overwhelm them, and thus to build resilience. Stories help us understand the past and face the future with more certainty than we can cope with whatever the world throws at us.
Are you ready to talk about the past with your child?
Written by:Robyn Fivus Originally appeared on:Psychology Today Republished with permission