Nobody is born emotionally competent: it takes time to become one. Parents and teachers have this critical task: to educate children about emotions.
Because it is essential to teach children how to manage emotions
The child experiences emotions that he cannot express or manage. “He can’t even name them. It is therefore essential to proceed to an emotional literacy. It is a path that can take place step by step, and that must start immediately, from its first days of life.
The first step is to send the child the feelings he feels by describing them. It can be done immediately: it is not true that infants have only physical needs; they also have emotional ones, which, however, they cannot communicate except with tears. It is essential to explain to them what they are feeling to give a container and a shape to their emotions. For example, if they cry because they don’t see mom, they can say to him: “Love, you’re crying. You are sad because you miss your mother.
The second step, when they grow up, is to make them able to manage emotions through games, tools, or rituals such as the jar of calm or the basket of anger.
How to teach anger management
One of the emotions that children experience very often is anger because their life is full of frustrations, for example, they often cannot do (or are forbidden to do) the things they would like.”
It is also a feeling that frightens the little ones «because it frightens adults. Instead, anger can be healthy: it makes us understand that something makes us uncomfortable and allows us to activate behaviors to avoid this condition or to learn how to endure it.
If, however, anger is not conscious and well channeled, it can do damage: “Like a red monster that comes out of the mouth or belly and destroys everything it encounters.”
There are two necessary steps:
Recognize anger by showing it to the child and making him understand that we have understood his state.
Let his anger out by containing it. “A good way is to build a container, for example, a basket, where children can express their frustration and anger.”
How the anger bin works
It is essential that the container, which can be used since children are around two years old, is made by the adult together with the child, perhaps with recycled materials. Let the child feel this object as his own, leaving him free to customize it, “continues the expert.
Then, let him choose how to express his emotions: “the little one can, for example, scream into it, or tear some sheets to put there, or even throw objects into it”.
Once the anger is put into the basket, it is closed and put back in its place. After some time, it is reopened, and the child is observed. Finally, together, anger is blown away, dissipating it.
In this way an internal process materializes, making it real and visible, and therefore more understandable, for the child who at the same time is reassured by the fact that his anger has been managed and has not destroyed everything. The ultimate aim of this ritual is to internalize the mechanism and become competent in managing this emotion as perceived as negative.