Episode 71: Helping Our Kids Cope with Sad Emotions—with Michelle Nietert

May 9, 2023

Rob & Joanna Teigen

Even before we were married, we dreamed about becoming parents. We’re so grateful to God that today we have two wonderful sons and three beautiful daughters.

While parenting truly is incredible, it is not easy! For Rob, if he had to pick one of the hardest parts of parenting, it’s when our kids break down and cry. As a dad that just breaks his heart and he wants to make it all better as quickly as possible. It’s hard to see them feeling those emotions and know how to best respond!

The truth is that our kids deal with such heavy things in this world. If you have wondered the best way to comfort your child, how to help them understand themselves, or explain to them how God can meet them in their sadness, then you will want to pay special attention to this episode.

Michelle Nietert is a professional counselor of 25 years, speaker, and frequent guest on national television and podcasts. She hosts her own podcast called Raising Mentally Healthy Kids. Michelle is also an accomplished author and just released her latest book, God, I Feel Sad: Bringing Big Emotions to a Bigger God.

Michelle shares with us:

  • Why you should ask your kids when they cried last
  • How to know when your child needs professional help
  • The importance of acknowledging emotions
  • Why we shouldn’t ignore meltdowns over something that feels small to us
  • And more!

We hope this conversation helps you support your kids even more intentionally in their sadness and emotions this week.




Our Takeaways:

1) Don’t rush past your child’s sadness. As parents, our natural reaction typically is to either minimize the emotions or try to fix the problem immediately. When a child experiences or displays sadness, we need to start by acknowledging their feelings and helping to identify what’s going on in their inner life. It may feel difficult, but it’s important that we let our children feel their emotions.

2) Coping with hard emotions starts with us. It is difficult to know how to handle our child’s sadness because we may not have been taught how to handle them in a healthy way. We may have been told to “Buck up, buttercup” or “Don’t make a scene.” This leads to us suppressing our own emotions and not having the tools to help our children deal with their own. The best thing we can do for our children is to learn along with them how to handle our emotions in a healthy way.

3) Reassure children that they are safe. At times, when our children come face-to-face with a traumatic event or the brokenness of this world, it is important that we reassure them. Be careful not to overexpose them to images of traumatic events, but talk to them about it in age-appropriate and helpful ways. One of my favorite phrases from our conversation with Michelle is this, “There is nothing that you, me, and God can’t handle.” We can reassure our children that no matter what comes our way, there are people who love them and will make sure they are taken care of and that God loves them even more than we do.

Meet Our Guest

Michelle Nietert

Michelle Nietert

Michelle Nietert is a licensed professional counselor, Clinical Director and Founder of Community Counseling Associates, speaker, author, coach, and podcaster. She is passionate about teaching, encouraging, and inspiring parents to raise mentally healthy children. Michelle is an Enneagram 2 and lives with her husband, Drew, and their two children.


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