Somewhere along the way, we got the idea that our children are never supposed to be upset, lonely, sad, angry, etc… We think about times we felt those emotions and our protective instinct is to try to protect them from those uncomfortable feelings, by either keeping them out of situations where they may feel them, or helping them buffer the emotions with food or screens or something else.
Emotions are just sensations created by chemicals released by our brains because of thoughts we have. I like to imagine little chemicals running through my body. They don’t do any harm as long as I just let them run around. After awhile they just disappear. It’s not dangerous.
Later it can be helpful to get curious as to what thoughts are creating the emotions, especially if it’s common for them to feel a certain way. But in the moment it’s just enough to know that when our kids feel “bad” it’s not dangerous and it’s not an emergency. There are just chemicals running through their body making uncomfortable sensations.