If you’ve watched TV recently or cruised down the toy isle you’ve probably seen advertisements for Disney’s latest movie, Inside Out. The currently #1 movie offers an exciting storyline, along with lessons about feelings and emotions. This post contains some spoilers, so you may want to watch it first before reading further.
Kids and adults experience all kinds of emotions, including the ones featured in the film of joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust. Although we all experience a range of emotions, it’s easy to focus on the first one: joy. Joy, in the film, is the leader and sole owner of Riley’s core memories. Each day, Joy tries to have the overwhelming amount of memories coming in be a golden yellow, the color of happy memories. Joy tries her best to keep Riley happy, but is unable to do so when the other feelings take over. Disgust causes Emily to have thoughts about if the girls at school will like her. Fear pops up when Riley speaks in front of her new class. The point is, it is really hard to be happy all the time! As a parent, you’ve probably experience all 5 of the featured feelings in a day, maybe even an afternoon. Children experience those different feelings as well. Inside Out does a great job of giving everyday scenarios to point out what different feelings look like. Talk with your child about when you’ve felt those five feelings have him or her share as well.
Sometimes kids have trouble expressing feelings other than joy. Kids may try to cover up feelings of sadness or fear from a teasing remark by smiling or laughing it off. Some kids may be fearful of getting in trouble if they speak up or worry what others may think. Bottling up feelings can be difficult and overwhelming. Let your child know its okay to experience and express all kinds of feelings! At the end of the film, Riley had so many more personality islands when she was able to express a larger variety of emotions. Memories of her hockey matches included anger and joy, which kept her focused on playing to the best of her abilities.
Inside Out teaches children the range of feelings we all experience, but also the importance of empathizing with others. One of the most valuable scenes in the film for me was when Joy and Sadness were trying to console Bing Bong. Joy tried to distract Bing Bong or get him to think about happy thoughts, but it didn’t work. Sadness sat with Bing Bong, and empathized with his feelings. Sadness shows how helpful and powerful it can be to simply sit with someone and reflect “I am here, I understand, I care” .
If your child is having difficulty understanding or expressing different emotions, Acorn Counseling Education Services is here to help. Counseling can help children learn to identify different feelings and develop positive coping skills. Give us a call at 940-222-8703 to discuss your options.
Angela Reed, LPC Intern supervised by Christy Graham, LPC S
[email protected] or 940-222-8703 ext 702