In “Inside Out”, Riley, a happy, warm-hearted 11-year-old girl from Minnesota, has her world turned upside-down when she and her parents relocate to San Francisco. Riley’s emotions Joy and Sadness tried to help her adapt to the stress that came along with the recent change. Unwittingly, they both are abandoned, leaving Anger, Fear, and Disgust as harnesses of her emotions and behaviors.
We can imagine what comes afterward when only anger, fear, and disgust remain in navigating how we feel about ourselves, others, and the world around us. In an attempt to restore her happiness, Anger prompts Riley to distance herself from her parents, friends, and hobbies and eventually to run away and return back to Minnesota. It wasn’t until Sadness was fully embraced that Riley tearfully confesses to her parents that she missed her old home and life; she was then able to receive the comfort and support she needed during her difficulties.
We learn that Riley needed Sadness just as much as she needs Joy, Anger, Fear, and Disgust; that each emotion served its own purpose in restoring her happiness.
Does this sound familiar? Have you or your child ever tried to push one feeling aside only to find that it was what you needed to help cope or take action?
Our feelings are our bodies asking for our attention; they are there to help us, not hurt us. But it can be a challenge for children to express their internal world since they haven’t developed the vocabulary to explain how they feel. Instead, they may communicate their feelings through their behaviors. Take Riley for instance, and her running away from home. How can we help children express their feelings? How can we provide them with the space to feel their feelings and acknowledge them for what they are?
Kids Help Line provides you and your child the steps and tools in identifying and expressing feelings:
“When kids learn to manage their emotions in childhood it leads to positive attitudes and behaviors later in life. Kids who learn healthy ways to express and cope with their feelings are more likely to, be empathic and supportive of others, have more stable relationships and a positive sense of self”
For further help and information check this link out:
We’d love to hear if this helps you and your child!
Stay tuned for more resources on dealing with big feelings!