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A Story About Anger, Friends and Taking Deep Breaths

I have been working with my five year old on emotional intelligence tools for years now. We have read a ton of kids books on feelings. We have a calming corner for her to reference tools to help her shift her moods. I model it for her by narrating what I am doing internally to regulate my emotions. You name it and we have probably done it.

Yet, if there is one emotion she struggles to regulate the most, it is anger.

She is in a primitive reactionary state and literally cannot hear me when she is angry. I tried to focus on just one strategy... deep breaths. But she refused to take deep breaths in the midst of her roaring anger. That is until I created this story for her.

Her school has a lovely philosophy for teaching kids such things. That is where I learned that stories are a powerful tool to inform self-discipline and values in our children.

Why stories are a powerful tool to inform self-discipline and values in our children?

Because it activates their imagination - the primary inner muscle that they are using in full capacity when they are 3-7 years old. It also helps them hear the messages better because it is not personalized or lectured. It is about someone else... a fictional character in the book. So our little ones can actually hear and see and understand and process every detail without having any defenses up.

So, finally one night in bed, I decided to make up a story about Mr. Potato Head who said and did unkind things when he got angry, until one day...

And to my surprise, my daughter asked me to tell her this story almost every night for a week or two and here is the best part... she did it! She got angry at a friend and she took some deep breaths. I didn't have to tell her anything or do anything. All, I had to do was tell her this story a few times and she internalized it.

So, here is the story…

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