We can try to suppress them but in the long run, it causes depression, anxiety and whatnot.
Taking them too seriously, on the other hand, may cause some severe distortion of reality. (In worst case scenarios, heated emotions lead to wars ...)
We are, therefore, encouraged to acknowledge emotions, whatever they may be, accepting them, but advised against being drawn into their whirlwind of misinterpretation.
Easier said than done; I'm sure we all agree. We've all been there, and it's a challenge. (But every time we survive, we become eeny weeny wiser).
Like with my recent experience, when one of my relationships ended due to distorted emotions.
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A colleague came to me, she wanted to work at my school. I taught her about the PBA, and she took over kindergarten classes. Gradually, she got the hang of the PBA and became brilliant with kids.
Everything went well until she stumbled onto some personal trouble; not a pleasant one, I admit. She completely fell into a state of emotional distress, looking at her misfortune in all the worst-case scenarios she could imagine.
There are, however, solutions to problems. (Providing you want to find them). And I presented some to her.
She was not willing to hear the solutions but explored her misfortune to manipulate her status. Since we were in business together, her actions affected the income.
She refused to accept her responsibilities (the agreement we had) to finish her school year and instead played the cards of her entitlement; she was suffering soul with severe problems, so she should be taken off all her responsibilities and being taken care of ... She didn't finish the school year, but she did continue working elsewhere (for it was better one-year-financial projection there and, as she defended, that job didn't affect her suffering soul).
That, however, seemed unfair and insulting to me.
It had stirred up my emotions, and my pride/ego was hurt. I used a pinch of too heated emotions when explaining to her about everything I did for her and the way she turned back on me ... (it's how I saw the situation, that is).
Again, using her entitlement, she accused me of being responsible for her misfortune; she accused me of making her do things that had lead her to her state of suffering.
Since I didn't want to take her responsibility on my shoulders (for she came to me and asked me for the job), we parted on not-so-good terms.
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We both succumbed to our entitlements:
I believed that after everything I did for her, she should have behaved differently, showed me some respect.
She believed that her suffering should be my sole focus and that I should cater her, ignoring my business.
Entitlements among the adults usually end up in arguments. But we are adults and can survive on our own; we part ways and life goes on. If we have learnt something from our arguments, we may handle other encounters differently. If not ... our history repeats itself.
We only damage ourselves.
How about the entitlements in relation to children?
Children cannot (yet) control their emotions (not that all adults can, as we've already established).
Children are experiencing emotions but do not know what to do with them. They quickly succumb to anger, extreme joy, frustration ...
Being brought up by an entitled adult can end up badly for a child. Children cannot survive on their own. They are dependant on adults' acceptance and change their behaviour according to the adults' demands.
That, however, the adults use for manipulation. In itself, manipulation is not necessarily the wrong approach. When we reward children for good behaviour and express disappointments for their wrong actions ... it is an example of manipulation that can lead to understanding the concept between right and wrong.
Sometimes, there is a thin line between right and wrong. That, however, may cause some problems.
The way I would put it is this:
Using manipulation to bring out the behaviour that doesn't harm others, is welcome:
"You're not going out until you've cleaned up the toys you've played with." (It's your responsibility to tidy after yourself, not mine. I'll clean up my own mess.)
Using it for soothing your own sorrow feelings is, therefore, is not okay:
"I will take you out to play when you show me you appreciate my work by being quiet during the lessons." (Maybe the schoolmate did something amusing, and that's why they laugh? Maybe he was hit, and that had provoked the emotional outburst? Or, perhaps my lesson is boring, no matter how long into the night I have been preparing for it ...)
If adults cannot evaluate their emotions from a distance, they tend to react from a hurt (entitled) point of view. They teach that manipulation for serving your own needs is acceptable.
If you often address children from the entitled POV, you shouldn't be surprised if, one day, you're served with, "If I clean the board (do you a favour), will you let me play with my mobile (please my desire)?"
One way to go about it
It is no my intention to show you the way how to get a hold of your own emotions. Mark Manson, in my opinion, did it with excellence.
When I see my children in my classroom get emotional, restless, not being able to focus ... We sit down and breath. We focus on our shoulders rising up and down, our ribs expanding and shrinking, our belly going out and in ...
When they cool down, we then talk about what was happening to them. Not a three-hour discussion, mind you, just a brief acknowledgement of their restlessness, their feelings.
The breathing instruction is in English (because I teach English) but the talk, well, it depends on the children's age.
Teaching emotions at school
In the big picture of life, knowing how to handle your emotions is essential; if you want to get along with other human beings, that is.
At school, teaching children how to observe and control their feelings, you label them with their names. Practically and usefully.
No special lesson structured for learning emotions.
No coursebook needed.
Have a great May,
How do you handle your kids' or students' emotions?
If you don't want to be read publically, you can share your thoughts writing to me:
Your comments and questions can be discussed in my next post.