I'm thinking about emotions a lot. One of the things that has come from my reading (I'm not done yet) "Raising Cain" is the idea of expanding my children's (and especially my boys) emotional vocabulary. I get upset at my children a lot. And I don't often explain why I'm upset, or how I'm upset. Sometimes it's because I'm worried someone will get hurt. Sometimes I'm upset because I don't want something to get broken. Often I am concerned that people will think I'm a bad mom if they...run in the store...don't brush their hair...scream in the library....
So I'm trying to take the time, calmly, to explain what behavior of theirs, is being reacted to by me with what emotion. I also try to tell them that it's my choice to feel that way, but that they can help.
A popular set of emotions to teach children are: Happy, Sad, Laugh, Mad.
So with this vocabulary, you might think Laugh is an extension of Happy. And Mad is an extension of Sad. Boo.
Our favorite series "Signing Time" goes further to add: Grumpy, Surprised, Sick, Excited.
But I hope to help my children see how Happy and Sad can both lead to tears. Mad does not give you an excuse to hurt people. Laugh can be nice or mean.
I want them to learn to understand their feelings and the feelings of others, so they can be nice.