Therapist Offers Help

 

We all want to be listened to. We often would like feedback on our thoughts, feelings, questions and concerns. We will not necessarily follow the recommendations or feedback, but the information may be valuable to consider. 

I plan to write a regular column for the Alameda Sun that answers readers’ questions. The article will respond to a question and offer options to what is being asked. Identification does not need to be included. If it is, I won’t disclose it. 

I work with all age groups. The questions may be about child concerns, parenting questions, issues with relationships or work. Perhaps anxiety or depression have been an issue in your life. I will respond to those topics. 

I have done a great deal of work on aging issues. I have researched and written about varying times in our lives: childhood, adolescence, middle age and later in our lives. Unfortunately, we are not educated about many of the stages, events and concerns that enter our lives and we often feel we are alone. To receive some information and validation and support can make a difference. 

Frequently parents ask about teaching children about feelings, how to identify them and how to express them. I encourage parents to offer the word that identifies the feeling. 

For example, if you are in a store and a child wants a specific cereal you are unwilling to buy, it is not unusual for the child to express disappointment. At that time, it is wise to say, “It sounds like you are disappointed.”

The child continues. The parent may say, “You have a right to be disappointed, but I am not buying that cereal.” The child escalates. Perhaps he or she is louder and crying. “Now you appear to be angry. I understand. That fits the situation, but I am not buying the cereal.” 

For children, it is appropriate to teach them the vocabulary for feelings. We are born able to feel everything; we are not born with the labels. As adults, many have problems focusing on and identifying feelings. 

I am not encouraging us to decide what a person is feeling. My goal is to teach the vocabulary and eventually enable the individual to identify the feelings. It is often frustrating if a person decides for us what we are feeling. With children, the label is a teaching tool. 

Check out my web site, drnataliegelman.com to discover my background, training and work experience. Send questions to my email address, drnataliegelman@gmail.com and I will respond to as many as I can.