Questions to ask parents/carers of kids with "big feelings" - Calm Kid Central

Helping Kids with Worry, Anxiety and Stress - Professional

Questions to ask parents/carers of kids with “big feelings”

“Kids with big feelings” is a phrase I sometimes use to describe children who have a tendency to get more frustrated, worried, embarrassed, hurt and sad than other children their age.  I use this phrase because it avoids negativity and reflects the fact that these kids are often also particularly creative, joyful and hilarious fun!

If you work with children with “big feelings” you know that they can test their parents/carers’ resources and frustration.   It’s a tough job for these people.  And unlike most other “jobs”, they get no training, time for reflection, formal planning processes or team building days…nope, they just have to do the best they can on the fly.

Sometimes this works out okay.

However if we can help parents and carers do some time for reflection and planning – then their job is often easier.

If you work with these parents, you might like to ask whether they would be prepared to do an exercise with you where you ask them the questions listed below.

(If you don’t work with them directly, perhaps you might send them to them in a handout/email of some kind for them to use themselves)

19 questions for parents/carers

  1. What were the best things about how you were parented when you were a child?
  2. What were the worst things about how you were parented?
  3. When do you feel most guilty as a parent?
  4. When do you feel proud as a parent?
  5. What would you like to do differently (if anything) with X child?
  6. What would you like to do differently (if anything) with Y child?
  7. Is there anything your friends/partners do or say with X or Y child which you have thought useful/appreciated?
  8. How do you feel about how you are handling issues with child X’s frustration and anger?
  9. Is there anything else you think you could do to help him/her with it?
  10. How do you think you are handling issues with child/’s X’s worry or anxiety?
  11. Is there anything else you think you could do to help him/her with it?
  12. How do you feel about the way you manage sleep/bedtimes?
  13. How do you feel about the way you manage issues related to homework?
  14. How do you feel about the way you manage issues related to getting along with siblings/other kids?
  15. How do you feel about the way you manage issues related to getting along with jobs/chores?
  16. What are the things that make you angriest/most frustrated in dealing with child X?
  17. Is there anything others could do to help you feel calmer?
  18. What activities or situations do you most enjoy with child X/Y?  Is there anything that could be done to help that occur more often?
  19. What skill would you most like child X/Y to learn this year?  How could you/we help him/her learn that skill?

Remember there are no right or wrong answers to any of these questions.  It’s just the asking of them (leading to thinking, planning) which is most beneficial.

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