Are you aware of your feelings?

Crissy Bontrager and I just attended a parenting conference in Newark by the National Center for Biblical Parenting. One facet that came out of the conference was a conversation about how to help emerging adolescents deal with their feelings.  According to Dr. Richard Berry’s book Angry Kids, most children benefit from intentional training on expressing how they feel.

Crissy shared with me how an emotion chart can help train our children to identify what they are feeling. How amazing would it be if we could teach our children how to assess their feelings, be able to name them and share them? Dr. Berry states that “an important step in dealing with anger is identifying the feelings behind it.” Psychologist Neil Clark Warren believes that anger is not a primary emotion but an automatic response to other emotions. Our children can gain problem-solving abilities and character development skills by being trained to identify these underlying emotions.

Once we can talk about and identify feelings, we are in a better place to develop a rational plan for dealing with the emotions. Helping my children manage their feelings has helped me manage my own. It has helped me take steps to communicate more effectively with my husband, my friends and my coworkers. It is always amazing to me how these small intentional steps to understand myself and others lead me right back to who God created me to be. In Ephesians 2:1-10, Paul writes about how Christ allows us to understand who were were, who we are and who were are becoming. Praise God we are not left alone to wander in our emotions. We have a God who created us and promises to recreate us daily if we are willing to follow him.

Parenting Tip: Post emotion charts in your home. Talk about how name how you are feeling. This can begin with children as young as age two. You can find an example of a chart we use in Kids Community here and find charts for purchase here.

Family project: Young children can color or create their own emotion chart as an art project. Adolescent children may want to create a unique family feeling chart with emoticons to use on their phones and send through email. Adolescent’s may be more willing to text or email their feelings to parents rather than talk about them face to face.

Resources We Like: The Angry Teenager by William Lee Carter, Angry Kids by Dr. Richard L Berry, The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo, and Peacemaking for Families by Ken Sande

Website We Like: www.peacemaker.net


  1. Kids are not always able to put words to what they are feeling. These fun faces give them a way to explain emotions without the use of words.

    We started using emotion charts similar to this when my first son was around 3. We were dealing with severe anger issues and this tool was very helpful. As my boys have gotten older this tool has helped them to understand their emotions and equipped them to talk through them.