How to Help Your Son Express His Emotions & Develop Coping Skills

Does your son sometimes have trouble expressing his emotions or he doesn’t like to share how he’s feeling? If so, this episode is for you!

David Thomas is the director of counseling for boys and men at Daystar Counseling Ministries in Nashville, TN. He is the author of several influential books including his latest, Raising Emotionally Strong Boys: Tools Your Son Can Build on For Life, and a companion workbook for boys ages 6-12, Strong and Smart: A Boy’s Guide to Building Healthy Emotions.

Key takeaways:
  • The acronym for FINE is “Feelings In Need of Expression,” and it takes more emotional muscles to move beyond answering with the word “fine” and having a sense of recognition and awareness around the way we are feeling.
  • The most common emotion in boys is anger and around 9/10 years of age, boys begin to channel all primary emotions, such as sadness, fear, disappointment, and confusion, and turn them into anger because they don’t know how to express those feelings.
  • Having a “space” in the house packed with sensory, tactile, and physical experiences helps boys to release their physicality and energy more constructively, as well as regulate their emotions on their own and not resort to anger.
  • “Anchoring” is when a child drags their parent down with their negative emotions and uses their parents to work through them rather than developing practical coping skills to work through their emotions on their own.
  • We, as parents, are going to coregulate and be with our kids when they develop these emotions and coping skills, but we want them to move toward self-regulation.

David’s resources: Website, Instagram, Facebook, and podcast.

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