“These colorful lines outside of the cave are joy, happiness. The black cave are sadness and anger. They are all part of life.” – by 10-year-old Lydia (alias）
Children have innocent and simple hearts. Creating artworks is a non-verbal process and children’s (adults too) thoughts/emotions can slip/release through their fingers without disturbance from the brain. Children show/express what they have in mind on the paper/artworks directly. Therefore, teachers and parents can provide support or help upon that in time. For Lydia (let’s call her Lydia here), I’m glad she chose the topic of anger. As emotions are normal for human beings and they help humans to be able to survive. Being able to learn about emotions ,especially anger, from young age can help children express them in healthy ways.
“Remember what an emotion is – it’s a change on the inside, in response to an event on the outside. And it’s a necessary and useful change. It’s as if a lightning bolt has struck you, and now you are now carrying that electricity inside of you.” – Steve Biddulph
“記得情緒是什麽嗎——情緒是一種内在的變化，一種爲了回應外在事件所生的反應，這是種必須且有用的變化。情緒就像是一道閃電擊中了你，你的體内如今就帶著那股電流。。“ — 史蒂夫.畢度夫
An emotion is not something to become lost in or taken over by.
There were several horrifying family adults fighting incidents happened in the neighborhood recently. Aren’t tantrums are supposed for toddlers? Aren’t we supposed to grow out of them? Do you know you are modeling inappropriate ways for your children?
In psychology, emotion is often defined as a complex state of feeling that results in physical and psychological changes that influence thought and behavior. Emotionality is associated with a range of psychological phenomena, including temperament, personality, mood, and motivation. According to author David G. Myers, human emotion involves “…physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience.”
“We can all learn to be angry and still be very calm, safe and clear.“
“If anger, or any other emotion, feels overwhelming or has built up for some reason, take it somewhere safe and let it out. Let people know you need some more time to work out how you feel. Take that time and supersense your way into that emotion and get to the bottom of it. Then come back to the topic when you are more grounded and clear. It’s possible – and we can all learn – to be angry and still be very calm, safe and clear.” (Steve Biddulph)
Teaching children about emotions, firstly, they need to be able to identify what kind of emotions they are having and then express them in healthy ways. Apart from that, they also need to be able to recognize others’ facial expressions and body language as well.
How to express emotions in healthy ways?
- “I Feel…” / “I am ……” Statements: To learn how to express their feelings appropriately, students need to be taught how to use “I feel…” statements. Instead of screaming insults at another child who broke her crayon, little Lydia can say “I feel sad that you broke my crayon.”,or “I am angry that you broke my crayon.” opening up the communication between the two children. This allows for healthy conflict resolution.
- Encouraging children to talk about their feelings, it may be uncomfortable for children (for adults too) to begin with. It gets easier with practice.
- Coping with Extreme Emotions: Sometimes we must step in and help kids deal with the emotional roller coasters they sometimes find themselves on. Their extreme emotions get out of control and they need help finding their way back to calmness.
- Teaching Emotional Rights: It’s important for children to understand and assert their rights when it comes to emotions. This helps them maintain healthy boundaries with their friends and peers, and be respectful to teachers and adults as well.
More to read: 5 Ways to Teach Your Child Anger Management Skills
1. Breathwork practices- slow and long belly breathing.
2. Learn their bodies’ anger warning signs and take a self-timeout (go to their room or another
quiet place when they get angry/upset. ）
3. Painting/ journaling to express/release or calm the anger.
More to read: Helping a Child Deal With Uncomfortable Emotions
Anger is a common and useful emotion everyone experiences. It’s also possible for anger to become overwhelming and cause problems sometimes. Therefore, learning how to express anger / emotions in healthy ways from young age is crucial. Welcome to join our Kids’ Yoga & Art classes and learn some useful tools to benefit children in their daily life/ lifetime.