realization of the importance of mirroring the feelings of my
children provided opportunities for this crash course.
I was getting ready to learn how to detect both my own
emotional shifts and the emotional states of my children. One
day as I sat in the familiar waiting room of a family therapist, a
thin forty-eight paged book caught my eye. I picked up What
Am I Feeling? and began to leaf through it. Its message pulled
me in immediately and by the end of that forty-five minute
wait, it literally changed my life.
Even though I was a Psychology major in college, I had
not made the connection that my shortcomings around the
topic of feelings was greatly affecting my parenting style and
thus the emotional lives of my children. During my own
childhood and beyond, I learned that certain feelings were
most often something to be either disapproved of or
dismissed. As a child and teenager, I spent a great deal of time
in my room for “backtalk” or disrespect. As a young mom,
faced with a range of big and loud emotional expressions by
my children, I often did not know what to do, beyond trying
to make it stop. My kids also spent time isolated in their rooms.
I came up short in teaching my children how to deal with
strong feelings.
“What Am I Feeling?” proved to be the Emotions 101
course that I as mom was lacking. In this book, Dr. John
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