The Secret to Teaching Children to Cope With Big Feelings

Do you know reading stories helps children coping with feelings? Stories play a vital role in developing a child’s imagination.

Using stories you can introduce new ideas into their world. From a realistic story that talks about kids and animals to fantasy stories that talk about other planets, ogres and trolls, children’s learn to visualize it in their own way.

Stories are also useful for teaching more complex ideas, such as the importance of sharing, manners and the passage of time. And what’s so great about learning through stories is that there’s no actual teaching involved at all, they learn from simply reading the story naturally.

Rewriting Authentic Tales to Happy Endings:

Storytelling is one of the best ways to teach compassion to kids. There is no safer way for a child to learn compassion and empathy than through a book. But unfortunately, some children’s books have taken a serious turn in rewriting the authentic tales to happy endings.

There is no more gingerbread boy that gets eaten up by the fox.  Happy or sad whatever the ending may be, it was perfect for the story. That’s why they were classics. Rewriting them and changing the endings kills the interesting aspects of the story.

Books, where the conflicts are always resolved with a happy ending doesn’t reflect with the range of human experience. When we share only the happy ending stories with kids we are setting up our children for false expectations of life.

If stories are all happy or idealized there is no way kids could actually experience the whole range of emotions. Trimming details and changing the ending doesn’t help your kid in any way. It actually does the opposite of hiding them from actual human experience.

At the same time, we have removed all the deadly monsters from the book, we have intensified some of the children’s movies with violent graphics and visuals.

Kids get too much exposure to what they are not supposed to know. So, story reading is again a safe place where you can read the story aloud and you can skip if the details are too intense. It’s their safe haven where they can learn about the world, new ideas and their tough emotions.

Sad Endings Teach Coping with Feelings

Happiness is a great feeling and it’s easy to cope up with. But what about fear or sorrow. Kids should feel all the emotions. No kid can cope up with a bad feeling at the moment he experiences it. Stories with sad endings are one of the safest ways to make your kids experience such emotions and slowly teach them how to cope up with such feelings.

When kids can relate to the story they read they can feel deep emotions. Fiction based on real-life characters can also help kids with their own life experience – it shows them how diverse the world is, how unique the people lives are and that some people’s lives are vastly different to theirs. Stories that contain feelings can help kids understand and accept their own feelings.

It helps them understand that there are other kids that are in similar situations who feel the same way and they are not alone.


Kids see the world in black and white. Reading a sad story with a wicked villain awakens their innate sense of justice where they try to change the situation by helping the needy.  Sad stories can develop their critical thinking by making them analyze the story. Stories that talks about struggle and conflict encourage kids to develop social-emotional skills.

A good story with mixed emotions teaches kids that life can give both beautiful and awful things. It’s OK to feel hurt, it’s OK to feel scary. The more we teach our children about these emotions and feelings when they arise, they can cope up with the real world.

Sad Ending stories where the main character dies might absolutely upset some kids. Children take some time to cope up with the character loss. But it is a great way to connect with your kid. There will be too many “why” questions to understand such loss.

Sometimes it is simply an expression of sorrow. Use this opportunity to teach them that it’s OK to feel sad and show them how to cope up with overwhelming sad feelings like talking about it and hugging the loved one, etc..,

As a parent, you know your child better. So, always know your audience and think ahead before starting a read story. Make sure the story you read is age appropriate, not too scary for your kids and doesn’t have any detailed violent illustrations.


Share Stories That Resonates With A Full Range Of emotions:

We all want our child to be happy in an idealized world where everyone’s a friend. It is so tempting to raise our kids in such a world where all the conflicts are resolved with a happy ending.

But, that is totally unrealistic and its an adult expectation. Kids are always kids and it is our responsibility to let kids experience the full range of emotions and to prepare them to cope up with those feelings when they arrive.

Stories are the safe place to make them experience all those feelings especially the bad ones like sadness and fear. Sharing good stories that fascinate with new ideas, spooks with silly monsters, create wonders with an adventurous hero, elicit giggle with foolish characters and awakens justice with a wicked villain all have a place in child’s world.

Are you willing to take this journey with your kids ? Share this post with your friends. 

How do you Teach kids to Cope with Feelings


 Suja Dinesh Raising World children Sindhuja Kumar is a proud mom and a lifestyle blogger living in Connecticut, USA and origin from Tamilnadu, India. She is happily married and nothing excites her more than being a mom. She blogs to keep herself sane, more or less writing about positive parenting adventures, DIY Craft tutorials & scrumptious recipes that empowers every mom and woman to stay inspired and living an elegant life in a creative way. Check her work @ PassionateMoms.

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