In yesterdays' post, I used the example of anger being one of those emotions that is difficult for us to "be with" because we may not have had the opportunity to express anger in our family of origin. As a result, I may have left you with the impression that other emotions are not equally at risk of being triggering for us as parents.
You may be surprised to know that all emotions - from anxiety, to guilt, to shame, to joy, to anger, to sadness, to fear, to anything else - is equally at risk of creating discomfort in us if we have not had the opportunity to learn how to "be with" those feelings and how to manage those within ourselves. And so we need to learn to notice and manage the distress that arises within us - essentially, we need to learn to "self-regulate" our emotional experience so that we can help our children make sense of (self-regulate) their emotions as a foundation for them being able to learn and grow in healthy, life expanding, values-based ways from the experiences life offers.
The first answer to the question, "Why is it so hard to go on those emotional journeys with our kids?" is: those emotions weren't something we learned how to manage in our family of origin (see yesterday's post). And, so the second answer to the question is: because we didn't learn how to safely experience and express those emotions in our family of origin, we still need to learn to this skill.
In other words, we still need to self-regulate our own emotional responses to our children's emotional expressions in order to be able to go on those journeys with them.
More on self-regulation tomorrow!