The feelings that affect your girl the most aren’t always the most obvious ones.

When your girl is upset, ask her to reach into her backpack and pull out the strongest feeling she’s having. Then ask herself if that’s the only emotion in there, or if others are hiding there, too. Let her know that she’ll run the risk of staying just plain angry if she doesn’t take time to discover what’s really bothering her.

If she’s having trouble figuring out exactly what she’s feeling, use these girl-sized prompts that suggest techniques that will help her get to the bottom of things.

Writing down your thoughts and feelings every day can help you sort out how you truly feel and help you solve problems. Write as though you are sharing your thoughts with a friend. You might want to keep your journal hidden from the rest of the family, but you should feel free to share it when you want to.

If you are having trouble figuring out which emotion you are feeling, think about the situation that is troubling you, and try to finish this sentence with different feelings to see what fits:

“I felt     (feeling)     when     (event)     happened.”

Describing the situation can help you decide what you are feeling and can make the solution easier to see. Talking about how you feel may make you anxious or a little shy. Wait until the person can give you his or her full attention, and then say, “Can I talk to you about something I’ve been feeling lately?” or “Something happened today that I wondered if I could talk to you about. Do you have a minute?”

When someone says or does something that upsets you, try listing other reasons that person might have done what she did. Could she not have known it would hurt your feelings? Could she have been upset about something that didn’t have anything to do with you? Her behavior could have more to do with her issues than yours, and making a “why else” list can keep you from jumping to conclusions.

Maybe your friend Sarah talked about her sadness and felt better. Maybe Liam hit the teacher and got expelled. Some actions help, but others can make a hard situation even worse.