Issues with Discussing Feelings with Students

Previously I discussed how important it is to children that teachers and parents acknowledge their feelings. While it seems that it would be a very simple task to listen to and acknowledge a child’s feelings, many parents and teachers have trouble or questions about how to deal with the feelings of a child.

Below are some common issues that teachers and parents may come across when facing the feelings of a child.

Students will not open up about their feelings. When asked how they feel they do not answer or give a short answer.
When asked out directly, many children will close up about their feelings. They do not like being put on the spot about the way they feel. In some cases children do not know why they are they are feeling a certain way. Many children do not know how to express their feelings in words.

In this case, it is best to avoid the why, what, and how questions. If you have a guess on what is going on, then go with it. If you think that the child is having trouble with bullies, then say something like “it can be hurtful when someone teases or picks on you.” Even if this is not what is going on with the child, he or she now knows that you are tuning into his or her feelings. It also lets him or her know that you are there if he or she wants to talk more.

Some teachers do not feel that it is their job to listen to and deal with the feelings of the students. They feel that it is the job of the guidance counselor.

While a guidance counselor should be sought for serious or complicated issues, everyday emotions and feelings affect your class in many ways. Taking a few moments to deal with them can enhance the learning and teaching in your classroom without losing value time.

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