What We Can All Learn From This 4-Year-Old So Eloquently Explaining His Emotions

A young boy is not only impressing TikTok but also celebrities with the way he very maturely discusses his emotions. Shout out to Mom too!

Tiktok bedtime conversation

Courtesy of @mom_aldie

TikTok and celebrities alike are in awe of one little boy explaining his big feelings in the most eloquent way. Frankly, so am I. In the nearly two-and-a-half-minute clip, posted by user @mom_aldie, the child, who is 4 years old, discusses a tough moment from the day. It seems he wanted to go outside but couldn't.

"You hurt my feelings by not going outside, so that's why I didn't want to make the smart choice. You know, earlier, I couldn't go outside, so I was still a little sad," he tells his mom, who is sitting in bed with him.

The boy later adds, "After I was a little sad, I was a little upset—more than a little." Mom, who has mostly given her son space to express himself, chimes in, "We all get upset sometimes. We don't get what we want all the time."

Later, he discusses a moment when his Papa got angry at a baby for dropping a plate. "I told papa to stop, breathe, slow, and make a smart choice for Papa," the child says.

In the end, he pivots back to his feelings, talking about how he was mad but felt OK again after a while. "We get upset, we get mad, we cry," Mom says. "That's emotions, mama," the boy responds.

Mom tells him that sometimes, we feel better after we cry and assures him, "You're learning." In the end, they hug. "Even when I was mad, you still love me," the boy says at the end.

The TikTok and Instagram world was certainly impressed and the video was shared by celebrities like actress Busy Phillips. I think we all could learn a lot from this pair. Nearly 51k commenters agree.

  • "He understands his emotions. He acknowledges them, and he looks at the brighter days, too," says one commenter.
  • "I wish I grew up with this emotional intelligence," another agrees.
  • "How is he so wise?" asked another.

If you're like me, you may have that question, too. Should my toddler and pre-schooler be able to have these types of conversations?

"My initial reaction is that this is not normal or typical, though the range of what is normal and typical is expansive," says Scott Roth, Psy.D., a New Jersey-based psychologist. "This is an extremely precocious child with a combination of well-developed language skills, empathy, emotional vocabulary, memory, and executive functioning skills. Every child develops these functions at different rates, and it just so happens that this child is highly developed across the board."

Still, like me and the rest of TikTok, Dr. Roth is impressed. "His ability to reflect on events that have occurred, process his emotions as well as others' emotions in a mature and sophisticated manner is truly amazing," Dr. Roth says.

It's also key to remember: This conversation is happening when everyone is calm. Even the little boy indicates he may have been a bit uncontrolled in the actual moment, such as when he couldn't go outside.

"I could imagine a situation in which he appears more emotionally dysregulated as these difficulties unfold, but then, after some time and some calming down, he is able to share his insight, understand cause and effect, and speak so articulately about what had occurred," says Dr. Roth.

While it's understandable that viewers are focusing on the boy's emotional intelligence, Dr. Roth was equally impressed by Mom. She mostly let him have the floor, validated his emotions, and made sure he knew he was learning and loved. "I think mom did a great job, and it is clear from this clip that he is surrounded by adults and even other children that are very socially and emotionally attuned," Dr. Roth says.

Again, if your child isn't recounting their day like this, you're likely not doing anything "wrong" as a parent. But learning to identify emotions and emotional regulation is important, and parents can help it along in age-appropriate ways.

Start in infancy

It can begin the moment your child comes earthside.

"Infants are very good at picking up on emotional cues in their environment," Dr. Roth says. "Pediatricians often say things like, 'stressed parents equals stressed babies.' This is true across the emotional spectrum. We can create emotionally attuned infants and toddlers by being emotionally attuned ourselves in our interactions with our partners, other children, and with our own children."

Teach children to use their words

As children begin to develop language, they can begin to express themselves more—but they're still probably unclear on how to describe their big feelings. As parents, we can guide them. "Teaching young children 'I messages' to express how they feel is a widely utilized strategy," Dr. Roth says.

Watch TV shows and movies together

Turn age-appropriate screen time into teachable moments. "Asking a child, 'How do you think that character felt when he lost his favorite stuffed animal?' can be powerful social learning that can be transferable in their own lives," Dr. Roth says.

Validate Your Child's Feelings

Dr. Roth says emotions get more nuanced as children get older. "They will learn that it is possible to hold more than one emotion at a time," Dr. Roth says. They will learn that they can feel authentic emotion when others are experiencing joy or pain."

This phase can be tricky for parents, too. "The best thing we can do as parents, caretakers, and teachers is validate feelings, model appropriate emotional expression, and avoid shaming emotion," Dr. Roth says.

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