The year 2020 came in like a pack of lions, tigers and bears. Daily changes sparked the threat of a fight, flight or freeze response constantly. We can try to protect our children from the happenings of the day, but changes effect them too.
School is starting. No, wait, maybe not! School might be on-line, or a hybrid, or..... who knows? Constant uncertainty creates fear, confusion, a mirage of other feelings, and of course, acting out. That looks like taking our frustration out on those people who are the closest. You know, the same ones we've been locked in the house with for weeks.
Uncertainty may be the single biggest test to emotions and problem response systems.
As parents, teachers and mental health professionals, what can we do? How can we navigate the constant state of changes? How can we help stabilize young people faced with a desire for the way things used to be? The first thing is to be honest with the uncertainty and the feelings that come with the uncertainty.
I often hear parents say, "My child knows they can talk to me about everything."
And, whenever I hear that, I often wonder, "How? How do they know? Do you talk about everything?" Often, this is just an assumption. We may think kids know they can talk to us about anything, but they may not actually know that. Emotions are terribly uncomfortable. Talking is not always welcome. If you have a teen at home, talking and feelings might be forbidden territory. Sometimes opening the door to talking about emotions can set the stage for deeper conversations. E-motion is literally energy in motion. This game is one way to move the energy of emotions out of the body and into the open.
TRANSFORM FEELINGS INTO FUN: Take a handful of balloons, paper lunch bags (blown up & taped at the end) or even wads of paper will do. Draw a feeling face, and/or feeling word. Toss each one in the air, or between two or more people. With every swat, say something about the feeling, like how it shows up. For example, "Frustration makes me want to scream.". Playful music can set the mood. This literally transforms the feelings into fun, connection and communication. Don't worry about trying to change emotions or fix them. For some teams, it may be best to not take the conversation further. This is about getting the energy of e-motion moving. Notice a release of the emotional energy. If unexpected things arise, don't react. This exercise is not meant to resolve problems or emotions, but to give the feelings an outlet. This activity will usually turn into laughter, and that is the best therapy.
Share a story or photo of your family transforming feelings into fun game. The first 5 responders who share a story, photo or video will receive a copy of the book, Amnesia from the Hero Leader Champion series.
Want more amazing tools for building a powerful problem response system? Make sure we you are signed up for the upcoming e-learning program, designed to support children and families. If you haven't already, reply to this email with a YES! As promised at the Pop Culture Con event last year, for you this free (for a limited time). I know with everything going on, this may be just one more thing. However, where we put our energy is where we get results. By focusing on feelings, even for a minute, things might just feel a little better.