Parenting and disciplining an emotional child who tends to become easily overwhelmed, emotional or sensitive can pose a great challenge to parents. Parents may waiver in addressing unwanted behavior for fear that their child will end up in a tailspin. So how can you discipline a highly emotional child?

First; drop the yelling and harsher disciplinary techniques when disciplining an emotional child. Flying off the handle yourself or enforcing severe consequences can backfire. Of course, negative behavior still needs to be addressed. But instead of harsh punishment, use natural consequences and logical discipline.

Highly emotional children also benefit from really understanding emotions and how to label them. Teach your children how to talk about their feelings and what’s going on in their bodies when emotions run strong. Where do they feel their anger? How does frustration feel? Having the right words can help them to relay these emotions when they begin to feel overwhelmed by them—and may help them (and us) to deal with them and assuage them.Disciplining an Emotional Child

Praise your children for their coping skills: When emotions begin to run hot and your child stays with the task and muscles through it, praise them for it. Tell them, “I know this is frustrating for you and I’m so proud of you for sticking with it until it’s done.” Praise them when they use strategies to calm themselves down as well. For example, if they take deep breaths, punch a pillow or take a break, let them know that you’ve noticed and that their efforts demonstrate maturity and great emotional management.

Most importantly, accept your child’s sensitive nature and provide him with strategies to cope. You don’t want to change your child, you simply want him to be able to deal with his emotions in a productive way.

I’m Dr. Robyn Silverman for KnowMore.TV. Live smart, be healthy, know more.