Family

What we can learn from 6 kids who are masters of their anger

Your brain is like a jar full of glitter and other life lessons from kindergarteners.

What we can learn from 6 kids who are masters of their anger

The elementary school kids in this video by Wavecrest Films are unexpectedly articulate about their emotions.

Seriously, they are so smart! Listen to what they have to say.

They understand what's happening in their brains when they get angry.


They aren't being fed lines; their thoughts and words are the real deal. These kids benefitted from social-emotional learning and coaching in mindfulness at a charter school in Mar Vista, California.

It's obvious that they have a grasp on understanding feelings that eludes most adults, and, frankly, it's a life skill that all of us could stand to learn regardless of age.

Here are six lessons these children have to teach us about mastering our anger.

Because, anger happens:

All GIFs and images via Wavecrest Films.

1. He's just 5 years old, but he knows where his anger comes from — often, out of the blue.

When somebody says, “I don't like it when you say you don't want to play with me," it makes him angry.

Haven't we all felt that way? This smart kid knows that anger sometimes happens when things outside of our control — like a rejection or unkind word — get us feeling bad. It's usually another person that makes us angry (although sometimes we can be mad at ourselves).

2. His blood keeps pumping, he gets sweaty and red — and he knows something's up.

We can have physical reactions to strong feelings of anger, from turning red in the face all the way to punching someone, even if we don't mean to. As this wise young man says, “Your blood keeps pumping because you're really mad, and you start to get sweaty because you're getting really, really mad. And then, when you start getting really mad, you turn red."

3. This little girl breaks it down: Our brains are like a JAR OF GLITTER.

She's a total emotional ninja and just dropped a wisdom bomb on us all.

This girl has a truth bomb for us.

Our thinking can be stirred up or calm, depending on our emotional state of mind.

And even though her front teeth are still coming in, she said, “It's kind of like, if you had a jar, and then the jar would be your brain, and then you put glitter in the jar, and that would be how you would feel like. If you shook up the jar, and the glitter went everywhere, that would be how your mind looks. And it's spinning around, and then you don't have any time to think."


Have you ever felt like your brain was a swirling mess?

4. This kid knows it's OK to be alone if you need to be.

Being in kindergarten can be pretty overwhelming. This pint-sized student of zen knows that when things gets tough, “First, you find a place where you can be alone, then you find some way to relax and calm down." Sometimes you need to be alone to collect your thoughts. It's OK to remove yourself from a frustrating situation.

5. Even kindergarteners can learn to calm themselves down by breathing.

On the playground, at home, or in class, anger happens, so taking a minute to wind down your breathing is one way these kids stop themselves from getting out of hand. "When I need to calm down, I take deep breaths," says one child champion of calm.

Breathe deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth.

6. It takes some adults forever to learn what she knows: Stop and think before you act.

This may be one of the hardest yet most important skills we can learn. When this girl pauses before acting out, she describes the way it makes her feel, "My brain slows down, and then I feel more calm, and then I'm ready to speak to that person." Calm and able to communicate? I think she just did a mic drop.

Truly, your brain is like a jar full of glitter. And it can be at peace.

“It's like all the sparkles are at the bottom of your brain."

So, when your brain is a stirred-up glitter jar, how do you calm down, cope with anger, and still the sprinkle-shower?

True

Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

Keep Reading Show less
More

They Liked Her Because She ‘Talked White.’ I Bet They Didn’t Expect This.

Sometimes what people may consider to be a compliment is actually horribly offensive.

This article originally appeared on 01.28.15


This is one of those times.

An incredible woman has the perfect response for someone who says, "You speak so well ... for a black girl."

Keep Reading Show less