One of my goals with each weeks #WellnessWednesday is to inspire readers to think a bit deeper about their day to day experiences and use that thoughtfulness to encourage either acceptance or action. I similarly spend a lot of time perusing the internet for my own personal inspirations, during which I came across a great article from NPR that had me thinking more deeply about how mainstream North American culture teach children to regulate emotions compared to how other cultures approach this. While we have certainly moved forward in this regard over the decades, it also seems that other cultures are approaching this in a unique, and sometimes better, way.
The Other Side of Anger: How Inuit Parents Teach Kids To Control Their Anger (Authors: Ichaeleen Doucleff and Jane Greenhalgh) explores an alternative parental response to anger. Specifically, the article touches upon how the Innuit community traditionally responds to tantrums and outbursts through demonstrations of patience and storytelling rather than time-outs or consequences.
The article explains how responding through narrative can be a tool to help children understand the repercussions of their actions in a dramatic creative way. This approach to behavioural outbursts reminds us that mirroring back anger through yelling and threats are rarely successful for young children who need time to learn to self regulate. The Inuit community informs us that yelling only teaches children to respond with a raised voice when they are angry or to run away from you when they are upset. By not yelling, we model self control in moments of anger and then when the child is calm we can explore other ways that they could have reacted. This practice further helps children to learn perspective taking and critical thinking, which underlie the development of empathy.
The article is an interesting read and can act as a reminder to caregivers who already act in such a fashion or a valuable alternative approach for those who find themselves stuck in a retaliatory emotional battle.
You can find the original article by clicking here.
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Jessica is a member of the clinical wellness and learning support team at FLEX Psychology. Jessica started Wellness Wednesday out of a desire to provide further opportunities for her clients to extend their wellness journey to all avenues of their life. You can learn more about Jessica by clicking here or by learning more about her and the clinical team at FLEX Psychology by clicking here.