Practically Speaking Mom: Intentional Mom, Strong Family

197. Four Simple Words

August 21, 2023 Val Harrison, The Practically Speaking MOM Season 4 Episode 197
Practically Speaking Mom: Intentional Mom, Strong Family
197. Four Simple Words
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Discover the power of four simple words: See, Say, Sit, and Step; Val's fundamental formula to assist children in separating their identity from their emotions, and expressing these feelings in a healthier way. We'll also look into the significance of setting boundaries around emotions, a vital step in maintaining our overall wellbeing.

HERE IS A PDF TO HELP YOU USE THESE FOUR SIMPLE WORDS WITH YOUR CHILD"S EMOTIONS - it's the story of SAM and how he handles his big emotions using four simple words.

Further, we delve into the intricate process of managing emotions before acting, hear Val's 'I Am' statements designed to help manage emotions.
This is the final episode in a series of four on Managing Emotions. Here are the first three:
Episode 194: Raising Emotionally Wise Kids and Teens
Episode 195: Five Steps to Emotional Wholeness
Episode 196: Balancing Emotions and Actions; and Facing Difficult Things

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"May the Words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, oh Lord, my Roc...

Val Harrison:

THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS GENERATED AUTOMATICALLY AND HAS NOT BEEN EDITED FOR ACCURACY. Today, in episode 197, I want to give you four simple words to help your kids manage their big emotions. Now I thought that I was finished with our series on emotion management, but God gave me just a little bit more that I'm supposed to share with you today. So let's get going. I'm Val Harrison, the Practically Speaking Mom. My husband, rich, and I have been married 30 years. We have four daughters and three sons. All of them are grown, except our youngest, emma, who just began her freshman year of high school. Three of our kids are married and we have four grandkids. I've also been a homeschool mom for 25 years. You know. I believe that mom life is big and wonderful and hard and messy and worth every ounce of effort. The Practically Speaking Mom Ministry exists because God has given me a passion to help intentional moms build strong families. So let's do that right now.

Val Harrison:

Now I've been giving you some steps to do for emotion management over the last three weeks, and those three episodes are great for you as parents and for older kids, but for our littles we've got to really boil it down and keep it simple. So these are the four words that you want to help them remember See, say, sit and step. Let's talk about these four words. The first one is see. We want to see that it is an emotion going on in us. You know, when we face something head on, we're ready to deal with it. Before we face it, we are distracted by other things, or thinking the issue is other things, or not recognizing that there's any issue at all. Well, when we face it head on, we're like okay, I'm looking you in the eye, let's go. And that's what we want to do with an emotion. We want to recognize it for what it is. Another thing to keep in mind about emotions is that they are separate from us. Our emotions is not who we are, and we're going to talk about who we are in step four, but right now, just knowing that, our first step is to see hey, there's an emotion going on.

Val Harrison:

Now, in young kids, the first four emotions that they can really identify with are happy, sad, mad and afraid. So start there, start with those four emotions. I would even encourage you maybe get a white board or a piece of paper or a three by five card and draw Sam, just to stick figure. Sam. And now you guys could, you can, depending on the age of your child. They or you could draw what would be these four faces that Sam might have based on his feelings. You know a frown and a smile and you know these, these different things. Okay, so that is Sam, and while he may feel different emotions going on in his body, his emotion is separate from him. So you can even draw a square now, a box that, and you could write sad in a box, or mad in a box, or happy in a box, or afraid in a box.

Val Harrison:

Help your child begin to think about this emotion as its own entity, its own thing, which is separate from who we are. It happens inside of us, it affects us physically, but it is not who we are. Okay, second thing, the word say. We want to say the emotion, and this is much more than what it sounds. It's much more beneficial than what it sounds.

Val Harrison:

There's two different ways we want to say our emotion. We want to say it to God. That means we run to God with our emotion or anything going on in our life. We run to him and we pray and we say, god, I have this emotion. Please help me with my emotion. We want our focus to be on the right thing. We want our focus to be on that we're not in it by ourselves, that this is something to manage and grow through and, again, that it is an entity separate from us. This emotion is. The other person that we want to say our emotion to is a safe person Mom, dad, teacher, for example. Okay, who are the safe people in their lives? We're saying or telling our emotion to God and to our safe people. That means we're not saying it to everyone. If we are going around saying our circumstances and emotions to everyone, that means that we're focusing on only it and that can contribute to us believing that's who we are. I am the circumstances going on or I am this emotion that's going on, but I am much more than that, and so helping our kids to get a more balanced amount of time that they are spending on it is important.

Val Harrison:

Now, as I mentioned in episode one of this emotion management podcast series, which I think was episode 194, in that first one I told you guys that society used to not focus on emotions enough. They underplayed them or ignored them or even ridiculed that people would have them. We've pendulum swung way over to the other side, where we kind of obsess about our emotions and we make labels out of those emotions and we say that's who we are, but we want to help our kids not to do that. So being careful that we don't say our circumstances and emotions to everyone both helps us to keep our focus more in check about them. But also it's important for us to understand that the human mind and the human heart and the human body was not made to handle awareness of everybody's circumstances and emotions all the time. You know, we live in a global society now where the internet allows us to be aware of every local tragedy, every state tragedy, every national tragedy and every world tragedy, and that is too much for us. We need to learn to identify.

Val Harrison:

You know what my heart or my mind, or me physically, has had enough of other people's circumstances and emotions for the day. In order to protect my health, my physical health, my spiritual health, my mental health, my social health, I need to limit the amount of other people's circumstances and emotions in a given day. I mean gaining an awareness that we must put boundaries on how many circumstances and emotions outside of our family we carry on a daily basis. We have to be monitoring that and we have to put those boundaries in place, recognize what I'm getting too much and likewise, just as we want to limit how much comes in, we want to care about those around us, our friends, the circles of people that we influence. We want to recognize that our emotions and circumstances is not for all of them. We have to be selective. That doesn't mean we should be hard hearted and have walls up all the time. It just means we need to manage, control, be aware of Right.

Val Harrison:

Along with that is the concept of empathy. I want to be empathetic of the concerns and the troubles and the feelings of the people around me outside of my family. You know, again, I'm talking about the circles of influence and the circles of people in our life. I want to be an empathetic person and I want to teach my kids to be empathetic. So, yes, I can learn how to describe my emotions and communicate that at appropriate times in conversations, and also learn to not share them and to hear other people's, to care about theirs and to also know when the other person is sharing too much or too often, and what kind of boundaries do I need to have in place to deal with that fact as well? So I'm kind of giving you some simple things here, as well as some advanced things here for yourself or for your older kids.

Val Harrison:

Okay, so we have said the first one is see, I am seeing that is an emotion going on. The second one is say, I am going to say this to God, I'm going to tell my emotion to God and to my safe people. My safe people help me learn how to handle the emotion, how to look at the emotion, how to grow, how to manage the emotions, and we're actually going to talk about that next in this third word, which is sit. So I want you to, if you haven't already, in describing these things to your kids. So you've got Sam stick figure Sam and he sometimes is happy or sad, or mad or afraid or other emotions. Now we want to draw some boxes on this paper with Sam. I want this box that you draw to be big enough for Sam to sit in it. So let's just say the emotion is mad, and so we're going to draw a picture of Sam sitting inside mad and he's looking all around at it.

Val Harrison:

He's saying how is this affecting how I feel, like my, my tummy or my mind? You know, is my mind racing? How's my breathing right now? You know, how do I feel physically in looking at this emotion? What am I attempted to do physically with this emotion? Like am I tempted to yell or to kick somebody or to say mean things to someone, you know? So we're sitting in it and we're examining the emotion. We can also sit in it and examine why do I have this emotion going on? What thoughts am I thinking that are bringing this emotion?

Val Harrison:

For example, one of my kids would get really frustrated that I would sometimes hire a teen helper to come and, like, I don't know, mow the lawn or help paint or something like that. And so I was like I noticed this pattern, and this was after several of our kids had grown up and moved out, so it was down to fewer of us. And so I was asking why do you feel this emotion? And this kid was like because it's all stuff we can do ourselves. And I said, okay, so by that, are you thinking, hey, let's do this, or are you thinking this is embarrassing? They said, okay, I'm going to do it. It's embarrassing. They probably are like why don't you do that yourself? So is your thought about what they're thinking or is your thought about action steps you want to take?

Val Harrison:

So I was helping them evaluate their emotions, and what we figured out was that they were feeling embarrassed that we were hiring something done that we were capable of doing ourselves, and this was a great opportunity for me to explain to this child. Well, here's the deal. Yes, we are capable of doing that ourselves, but something that dad and I didn't use to be good at was having time to play together with kids and to have fun, to bond, to rest. We would do all the to do list items and then run out of time to do all the fun bonding, and so, as we have increased the priority in taking time for fun and bonding, it's meant that we've had to cut out some activities that we're capable of doing. But we're shifting our priorities and that's why we're occasionally hiring someone else to do this job.

Val Harrison:

So I was explaining our reasoning why, and then I was able to ask so in light of that because we're not gonna adjust our workload and if I look at your life, it's hard for me to see you adding it, because we already give you a certain amount of work to do here and we want you to have a balanced life too. So if we gave you more, you would become imbalanced. The only way that you're gonna be able to increase what you do here is if you were to not have that side job that you have, helping somebody else at their house. If you wanna cut out that job, then I could see how you'd be able to keep balanced about a healthy level of everything in your life. So is that what you wanna do? And they were like no, but I will try harder to get more done. I was like awesome. Then here's how we can compromise this. Next time I need stuff done that I would hire out. I'll ask you first and we'll discuss whether you have time to do that while still keeping balance.

Val Harrison:

So, backing up, what did we do there? We got into what was this child thinking that was generating the emotion. They were frustrated with us, that we were hiring somebody, so we examined their thinking. Thinking leads to emotion, so go back and look at what's being thought about Now. That also means we can affect what we're thinking about. This is the healthy, responsible, mature way to handle circumstances. Our circumstances were we had work that needed to be done and we were hiring somebody, but adding in the examination of the thinking process and the emotions allowed us to shift our circumstances. So now our circumstances became, we have work that needs to be done. We'll ask this child first and examine their life and whether they could stay balanced and still do these jobs. Then we'll ask to hire somebody if needed.

Val Harrison:

Okay, so what this step is, that we're on, that we're talking about, is sit, sit in the emotion and look at it. Another aspect of this of sitting in it is recognizing it's not the same as acting on it. I have an emotion and the emotion needs attention. It needs examination. I'm not ready for action yet. Don't act on the emotion. Okay, two key things to think about in this sit step that we're on two cautions. The first one is don't rush and stuff. Don't rush through sitting in it. Take the necessary time. Let's do this right. Let's really get to the bottom of things. Don't rush it. Also, don't stuff it Now.

Val Harrison:

Here's what I think is a common tendency in parenting when our kids have emotions, it's to say you're having big emotions, you go be alone until your big emotions are gone. Now, it's not inappropriate to ever go be alone and deal with big emotions, but our kids are not necessarily ready for that yet If we haven't sat with them through a lot of emotions and learned how they handle and think about emotions. Until we've taught them how to handle and think inside that emotion, then we shouldn't send them off to handle and think about it by themselves. The message that we're sending when we prematurely send them off with their emotions is we're saying isolate, oh no emotions, I don't wanna see them. So you go, get rid of them and come back when they're gone. And we don't wanna teach our kids to stuff down their emotions. We don't wanna teach kids that they have to isolate when they feel emotion. That's the point of the say.

Val Harrison:

It is that emotion can be managed with someone, with God and with safe people. It is when we start feeling like emotions can only be dealt with alone or that emotions can't be dealt with at all, so let's stuff them. This is where we see an epidemic that is skyrocketed in the United States over the last few years, and that is when someone causes the end of their life. So I'm avoiding words here and we're seeing this trend in younger and younger ages Now. I totally think it has to do with social media, with games that are violent. There's a lot of contributing factors there, but we don't want to teach our kids that emotions are something to hide or to ignore. So we don't want them to rush and we don't want them to stuff. Instead, we need to sit in the emotion a while and examine it and figure it out and recognize that our role is managing this emotion.

Val Harrison:

Okay, here's the last step, and that is step Now, after we have sat in our emotion. We've sat in that box. That is that emotion. It's time to step out of the emotion before we take action. And that doesn't mean that the emotion is gone, that it's gone away, that it's 100% dealt with. You know, if you have trauma in your life, you have emotions attached to that, possibly your entire life. It's going to take many times of sitting in it and examining it, but we have to learn to step out of the sitting process, step out of the examination process, before we take action. This is treasuring others. It's also treasuring ourselves. We don't want to take action against ourselves either. When we're in the midst of emotion, some actions we might have a tendency to take is to think bad thoughts about ourselves or self harm, and those aren't okay. We don't take action in our emotion. We step out of our emotion to make decisions, we step out of our emotion to take action.

Val Harrison:

I want to wrap up by giving you one other thing to help your kids memorize, and so we've already talked about that. We're helping them memorize these four words See, say, sit and step. But there's something else, and this is part of the step of this process. We want to give them some I am statements to memorize. So let's look at a few of those that can be helpful for them to remember when they're tempted to act while they're still in the emotion. You see, being an intentional mom means speaking life and speaking truth into our kids' hearts and minds. Helping them to handle big emotions is a wonderful opportunity to speak life into your child, taking responsibility for your emotions by affecting what we're thinking. We need to remember who we are, so here's some I am statements to help with that.

Val Harrison:

I am kind to others and to myself, so I'm not going to take action that is unkind. I am forgiving to others and to myself. I protect my boundaries, or I protect me and I protect others. I am honest with others and I am honest with myself. I am wise in the way that I make decisions and take actions. I don't do what is simple and comfortable. I do what is right. I am brave. God made me. Everything God made is good. I am good.

Val Harrison:

So those are some I am statements that can help your child to keep control over, to manage their emotions, to see those emotions as separate from who they are. They are not their emotions. Their emotions do not control them. They can impact their circumstances by examining the way they think so that they can go back and alter their circumstances. They can manage their emotions by taking a look at how they're thinking and affect better thinking. I hope that these four simple words of see, say, sit and step will help you with your kids.

Val Harrison:

Remember, kids are visual. I mean plenty of us adults are. I'm very visual, so if I want to remember something like this, I need to write it down, and I'm not any good at drawing, but I can draw a stick figure, sam, you know. You could even do a picture of Sam seeing the emotion, saying the emotion to God and to a safe person, but not to everyone, and a picture of Sam sitting in the emotion and a picture of Sam stepping out of the emotion before he makes decisions or takes action. It doesn't mean the emotion went away, but it does mean that the emotions not controlling him.

Val Harrison:

Hope this helps you in wrapping up this series on emotion management. I'm kind of excited about it because it is one that I did not plan on doing this series at all, but God just really laid it on my heart and I've gotten so much feedback from it. In fact, I have several therapists who follow my podcast and are in the Intention of Mom Strong Family Facebook group, and one of those therapists made a post in her Instagram about this series on emotions. Thank you for sharing that, angela from Called to Rise, but anyway. So I saw that she had shared that on Instagram and I contacted her through Instagram just to say thank you, and from that we developed a conversation that turned into us scheduling for her to be on the podcast. So that's going to be something coming up soon. She has a heart for helping kids go through difficult things, and moms go through difficult things, including single moms, so this will be such an impactful time that I spend with her. I'm really excited about it. Actually, we're recording later today.

Val Harrison:

Now another series that's coming is helping our kids develop more confidence. That series will be looking at confidence at all ages, from little to grown the young adult years, you know, helping them with job hunting and all of that. How can we help equip our kids regarding confidence? How can we impact that? So that is a series coming also. Thank you for listening to the Practically Speaking Mom podcast, the place for intentional moms to build strong families. We have a Facebook group for you and it is called Intentional Mom Strong Family. I also have a website for all of you. That website is PracticallySpeakingMomcom and it is divided into the six areas of the intentional moms home, your intentional home. I hope you'll join me right here next week on the Practically Speaking Mom podcast.

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