Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Volcano Self-Regulation

I've talked before about volcanoes and how they have provided great illustration for my family to understand the power of emotions.
We've been working with our eldest on self-regulating her emotions. We have used the comic strip approach to help her with her emotions but found that she didn't like it or didn't relate to it very well.
So, out comes another volcano.

When talking with my daughter about self-regulation, I brought up some incidents that had happened in the past week.

First there is the GREEN LEVEL.
Green represents being in a new situation (ie. over a t a friend's house, playing with a toy, etc.)

Then there is YELLOW LEVEL.
Something negative happens (ie. don't get your own way, someone says something impolite)

Then there is the ORANGE LEVEL.
Negative emotions build, feeling anxious or start to feel out of control.
(ie. Nobody's listen to me, What's happening ? How dare they?!)

Then there is RED LEVEL
Exploding negative emotions (ie. angry words, insults, hitting, etc.)

My daughter and I went through the different levels of emotions that happened in three seperate instances. One scenario was very volatile and the other two were mild in expression.
I had her identify what happened at each stage. I did this to help her see that she just doesn't "explode". It's a gradual build-up (albeit sometimes quickly) of emotions that leads to a blow up.

Now when I see her heading for a Volcano situation, I ask her, "What zone are you at right now? Yellow or Orange?"
She's learning to answer me, although she does ignore me sometimes as she's focused on "being right" and not on calming down. I have found that it helps to remove her from the situation, if she does ignore me the first time.
Sometimes, I will simply say, "You are heading towards the red zone. Quick, what do you need to do to get back to green."

We've worked on different ways that she can calm down and bring her emotions back to a neutral place.

We're learning this together and I've found it helps me learn to identify when I'm heading for a crazy blow-up. And my kids are quick to say, "Whoa, Mom, you are in the RED zone."

I used to be embarrassed about that. Embarrassed that my temper was out of control. But now, as I'm allowing God to teach me to control myself, I realize that this is modeling faith to my kids. They see I'm not perfect. They see me stumble. They see me apologize for wrong behavior and they gather round and pray with me as we ask God for strength to go forward together....back to green (zone) pastures.

Criteria focus: self regulation

1 comment:

Therese said...

Love it, Holly!
This is a very tangible way of handing self regulation issues.