This year Mark and I have been reading a wonderful book:  How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich.  The book has given us great insights into ourselves and each other.  Not only that, but it has changed our parenting, as well.

One way that it has changed us is that we are more intentionally tuning into the emotional needs of our kids.  We’re slowing down, listening, and helping our kids figure out what they are feeling (this is no small feat with 16 and 18-year-old boys!) and then tending to those feelings.  We’re doing the same for ourselves.

158877315 (2)The Yerkovich’s offer a “Soul Words” list that helps you identify what you are feeling. When one of our boys is struggling, we’ll print out the list and ask them to circle the words that describe what they are feeling.  This helps us move from dealing with “moodiness” to what’s really at the heart of their struggle.

Here’s the Soul Words list if you’d like to use it for your family:

Happy

Cheerful, delighted, elated, encouraged, glad, gratified, joyful, lighthearted, overjoyed, pleased, relieved, satisfied, thrilled, secure.

LOVING

Affectionate, cozy, passionate, romantic, sexy, warm, tender, responsive, thankful, appreciative, refreshed, pleased

HIGH ENERGY

Energetic, enthusiastic, excited, playful, rejuvenated, talkative, pumped, motivated, driven, determined, obsessed

AMAZED

Stunned, surprised, shocked, jolted

ANXIOUS

Uneasy, embarrassed, frustrated, nauseated, ashamed, nervous, restless, worried, stressed

CONFIDENT

Positive, secure, self-assured, assertive

PEACEFUL

At ease, calm, comforted, cool, relaxed, serene

AFRAID

Scared, anxious, apprehensive, boxed in, burdened, confused, distressed, fearful, frightened, guarded, hard pressed, overwhelmed, panicky, paralyzed, tense, terrified, worried, insecure

TRAUMATIZED

Shocked, disturbed, injured, damaged

ANGRY

Annoyed, controlled, manipulated, furious, grouchy, grumpy, irritated, provoked, frustrated

LOW ENERGY

Beaten down, exhausted, tired, weak, listless, depressed, detached, withdrawn, indifferent, apathetic

ALONE

Avoidant, lonely, abandoned, deserted, forlorn, isolated, cut off, detached

SAD

Unhappy, crushed, dejected, depressed, desperate, despondent, grieved, heartbroken, heavy, weepy

BETRAYED

Deceived, fooled, duped, tricked

CONFUSED

Baffled, perplexed, mystified, bewildered

ASHAMED

Guilty, mortified, humiliated, embarrassed, exposed

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