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Teaching children to 'deal' with emotions

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ewok, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. Ewok

    Ewok Peer Supporter

    My children's pre-school is teaching children strategies for 'dealing' with anger and other emotions. The other day they learned a little saying, "When you feel the monster in your tummy, breathe through your nose and all the way down to your toes and count to ten!" The kids love it. I suppose they do this to teach the kids not to use violence when they are angry but are sayings/strategies like this a healthy way of dealing with anger or is this repressing anger? I am clearly clueless in this area. I was told off for shouting or expressing anger as a child.

    I also find myself telling my children not to shout at someone when they are angry, to just say what is the problem in a calm voice or stamp their feet and come and ask for help from an adult. Is that the right thing to do?
    Ines likes this.
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Heya, Ewok,

    I think this sounds reasonable. I think that to be an adult or even a functional teenager means that you can't always act on your emotions the way that the most primitive parts of your brain might want you to. Luckily, I don't think that being in touch with your emotions means that you always have to say exactly what you feel. (I don't remember exactly where, but I'm pretty sure that Dr. Sarno says this in one of his books somewhere. If not, Eric Sherman, the psychologist who may have been closest to Dr. Sarno, probably did in his book, Pathways to Pain Relief.)

    Daniel Goleman, a Harvard psychology PhD whose book, Emotional Intelligence, coined the term, "Emotional Intelligence," said that there are two core skills in emotional intelligence:
    1. being aware of your own emotions
    2. having skills to manage those emotions
    In a very simple way, that exercise seems to be bringing those two steps down to the preschool level. First, it teaches them to be aware of their emotions by listening to their body. Then it gives them a very simple technique for managing the emotions.

    It reminds me of our own @Walt Oleksy's wise advice to turn to deep breathing when needed.

    As the children grow, I imagine that they will get more tools for emotion management in their toolbox. The key thing, I think, is to start them being more aware of their emotions early on. Dr. Sarno never said that we had to express all of our emotions all of the time.

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents.

    Goleman is really interested in the topic of how to help children grow up to be more emotionally intelligent, as he feels that emotional intelligence = emotional health. Check out this book for instance:
    Ewok and Ines like this.
  3. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    This is a great post. Thanks guys! Children are so emotional.
  4. Ewok

    Ewok Peer Supporter

    Thanks Forest, that makes a lot of sense when you explain it like that. They are learning to identify their emotions and process them in a healthy way, which is not always immediately acting on them. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

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