Tips Stolen From the Kids’ Therapist #1 [Feelings]

As parents of kids from “hard places,” Russ and I read stacks of books, attended many therapy sessions, and sought every resource we could find.

We were flooded with information in the early years –  like drinking from a fire hose.

While the knowledge we gained continues to be invaluable for our kids, there are unexpected gifts for us – insights and skills we use to heal, cope, and manage our own relationships and lives.

This post is the first in the series Tips Stolen From the Kids’ Therapist.


Tip #1 This Feeling Won’t Last Forever 

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Last weekend was very hard for me and, by Monday, I was a bit of a wreck. I felt terribly sad and despairing. In the midst of it, I remembered something I learned from the author of The Whole-Brain Child, Daniel Siegel,

“Let the clouds of emotion roll by. Feelings come and go.” [The Whole-Brain Child p. 103]

We need to teach our children to identify their emotions, and then help them understand that emotions won’t last forever.

Feelings are like the weather – they change.

It was snowing at my house this morning. Now, as I write this afternoon, the sun is coming out.

When I felt terribly sad yesterday, I knew the feeling wouldn’t last forever, even though the sadness felt like it would never end.

As Siegel says, “…feelings need to be recognized for what they are: temporary, changing conditions. They are states, not traits.”

I also know I can do things to help those bad feelings change more quickly:

  1. I took a walk | With the dog in the car, I drove Claire to her piano lesson, parked at the teacher’s house, and went for a walk.
  2.  I called a friend | I walked with an earbud in my ear and called one of my best friends. It helped to tell her what I was feeling and have her help me process.
  3. I opened presents | This was a complete blessing and surprise. I signed up for a Secret Santa exchange on Facebook, and three presents arrived yesterday. When I opened them, it was so fun and happy; some sadness lifted off in a sweet way.

Just like this morning’s snow, by Tuesday, the darkest clouds of sadness had rolled on by and I was quite a bit better. The situation isn’t fixed, but I felt I could bear it with more hope. Feelings do come and go.

I would love to hear from you. What are  some of the best tips meant for your kids that you use in your life? Tell me!

One last thing: This Saturday, 12/10, is the last day to order from my Etsy Shop for Christmas delivery. We have lots of orders to fill and special custom orders to complete. Cate is creating each piece, I’m taking orders, and helping her with details. Once we’ve filled all orders, we’ll take time off to be with our families.]



This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Lori
    December 7, 2016

    Thank you for this reminder, Lisa. As my family and I navigate Colin’s first birthday, Christmas, and new year without him, I keep rehearsing to myself and my family “It won’t always be like this”. But this is what it is right now. This is our present reality. But we keep struggling well, because struggling is appropriate for this this time. Looking forward to future posts about this topic.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      December 8, 2016

      Lori, that’s what I tell myself too – grief won’t always feel like this. This year is going to be so hard for you; Colin’s absence will be so huge, so gaping. I’m deeply sorry. This year is much different from last year for our family, and I’m sure next year will be different too. Layered over grief is the life we’re living now and the ups and downs of the present. We have to keep moving forward, and sometimes that takes great effort.

  2. Beverly Regier
    December 8, 2016

    Thank you for this. It is so good to remember.


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