Two Types of Emotions

Children build EQ faster knowing the two types of emotions.

Posted Feb 03, 2020

"The voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes, but in having new eyes" —Marcel Proust

Our children feel things deeply, including surprise, delight, disgust, anger, frustration, revenge, jealousy, and enthusiasm. They often don't even have the words to communicate their feelings, which is why they sometimes act them out inappropriately, but once they learn what emotions are and how they work, and apply a method to release them constructively, they can experience emotional aha's, which lead them in a positive direction.

In my book, The Emotionally Healthy Child, I delve into these topics, but for now, I want to share how I conceptualize emotions, especially as I see emotional health. There are two types of emotions:

1. Helpful

2. Challenging

When I work with children, we focus on cultivating helpful emotions and an emotionally healthy mindset, so that children can see the world accurately and respond with intelligence. We also work on identifying challenging emotions—let's not say negative or bad, but those emotions that throw them off-balance, which they need to release constructively.

Oftentimes, we begin by helping our children with their challenging emotions, because those are the ones that literally scream the loudest. Boys and girls yell, cry, and stomp their feet in anger, sadness, and frustration. But it's the helpful emotions, such as patience, calmness, and enthusiasm, that need to be equally cultivated to balance the scales and enlarge a child's capacity to handle the challenging emotions.

Ultimately, your child doesn't need to be all smiles but must be able to face any emotion that arises and learn how to express it skillfully. This is an emotionally healthy child. He is learning to embrace his whole bucket of emotions and then empty it when he needs to. He also learns how to fill his bucket with positive relationships, interests, and activities, which give his life meaning and purpose.


Healy, M. (2018). The Emotionally Healthy Child. Novato, CA: New World Library.