10 facts about emotions-Part 1
When working with children, dealing with emotions can represent a big chunk of your day. Tantrums, crying, overexcitement, and fear are common. The world of emotions can be quite abstract for little ones…and even some adults. Regardless if we like it or not, emotions can have quite the impact on many aspects of daily life: conflicts with others, social skills, sharing, etc. For some children, mastering their emotions can be especially difficult. That is precisely why I have recently been exploring the subject more closely. After researching children’s emotions, their ability to control them, and the impact adults’ emotions can have on children, I decided to prepare a series of articles on the topic. To begin, here are 10 facts about emotions.
- Whenever a child is overwhelmed with emotions, two very important spheres of his or her brain are “disconnected”: the limbic brain (linked to emotions) and the neocortex (thinking). This disconnection explains why it is impossible to reason with a child or even speak with a child during a tantrum.
- The intensity of an emotion is directly proportional to the importance of this “disconnection”. The more an emotion is intense, the longer it will take before the “connection” between these two parts of the brain can be re-established.
- As the intensity of a child’s emotion increases, so do the chances of him or her requiring your help to regain control.
- When a child throws a tantrum, take a step back to calm down. This will ensure you can help the child.
- After a tantrum, the child can remain “fragile” for a few hours. During this period, he may be more susceptible to experiencing another emotional outburst.
- The younger a child is, the more he will be submerged by his emotions. His ability to rationalize may fail more frequently.
- If the emotion is too intense, the child may have three (3) different reactions: flee (agitation, walk away, daydream), attack (throw objects, hit, tantrum), or play dead (deactivation, frozen in place, no emotion).
- Teaching the child to recognize, name, and express his emotions adequately are interesting strategies that may be helpful.
- When a child throws a tantrum, speaking to or trying to reason with him is impossible. You must give the child time to calm down and wait to talk about the situation later, once the “connection” between his limbic brain and neocortex has been re-established.
- All emotions are healthy and normal; we must work on how they are manifested and teach children appropriate ways to express them.
That concludes the 10 first facts about emotions. If you are hungry and curious for more, watch for upcoming articles.