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Wrestling with Feelings First:

I love the movie “Inside Out”. I learned a lot about myself watching this Pixar movie for children. I thought it would be a good idea for my teenage daughter as she and I had a Mother-and-daughter date night. I thought I would be bored…wow, as I watched the big screen, I realized I needed this more than my daughter did!

My favorite part of the movie was when Sadness came along side of Joy and Help Riley. After many attempts by Joy, Sadness came along side to help her express her feelings to her parents. I found myself more emotional than I thought. Maybe it’s because I moved from Maryland to Illinois about the same age as Riley or maybe it’s because the parents where so sweet to express their feelings of sadness and show her empathy. As the viewer, you knew that she was really going to get the help she needed to heal. Watch below.

The title of this blog post is Helping Your Children Change Their Attitudes.

So what do feelings have to do with attitude? Feelings are the root of every attitude. I made some serious mistakes parenting. Now, looking back I always tried to correct the external symptoms of an internal problem. I never taught my kids about their feelings and what they mean.

When you are a child, you get flooded with all kinds of new emotions. Based on what others tell you, you create definitions around these feelings and the events that caused them in the first place. These definitions may or may not be accurate. So please join us as we are teaching our students this week about Attitude and how our emotions effect our attitudes.

Our Definition: Attitude is showing your emotions.

1) Stop and Feel Formula: If we can teach our students to stop and recognize their emotions and THEN show the appropriate attitude, imagine how much mentally healthier and stronger they would be.

For example, if your children get into a disagreement with their bother or sister, you could sit both children down and walk them through this formula by completing the following thoughts/phrases:

I feel _______



I prefer_______________

Now what ATTITUDE do you want to choose in this situation toward your brother and sister?

(You might want to Re-read this again and again letting the power of this tool really soak in.)

2) SNAP: How fast can you change your attitude?

Teach children that they have a choice to change their attitude in a split second. Your attitude can change as fast as you can snap your fingers.

When we teach our children that they don’t have to stay in a bad mood all day, or even for more then 5 minutes, we give them the power to choose! They have the power to be happy if they wish.

3) You Are in Control (For our Older Children):

“You can’t control how other people act; you can only control how you react to it.”

“No one can make you feel offended.”

As my children grew up, my husband did a great job teaching our children these quotes… I’m sure they are not original to him, but I’m going to give him the credit because he made them famous in our house!

Being a police officer for 15 years, he knew first hand he couldn’t let others’ opinions affect his attitude.

When our children recognize their feelings and choose the appropriate attitude, their confidence increases. When a situation seems overwhelming, we are present with our children … helping them help themselves in becoming aware they have control and the opportunity to choose the most appropriate attitude.

Be sure to buzz over to my daughter’s blog at for a look at her take on Resilience!


There is a lot being said about Emotional IQ and Emotional Leadership today. How do we teach children this concept of Emotional health? Let’s give our children the foundation of such a necessary Leadership Skill and add this to their vocabulary.

We don’t need to be psychologists to have conversations with our children and students around these basic emotions. One of the great benefits of taking the time to work through our children’s emotions is that they see they are not alone in managing them. They get to choose their attitudes.

At Leaders for Life, we teach our students about joy, fear, anger, sadness and disgust. Let’s look at the definitions of these terms.

Joy is an emotion comprised of feelings of happiness, contentment, and harmony. It differs from general happiness in that it is not caused by a particular event but comes from within the individual.

Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason.

Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems. We teach and allow children to have time and space when they are angry. They don’t get in trouble for having the feeling of anger, but on acting it out in a harmful way.

Sadness is an emotional pain associated with, or characterized by, feelings of disadvantage, loss, despair, grief, helplessness, disappointment and sorrow. Teach our children and our students to recognize sadness and ask for help in dealing with and walking through it with the help of their parent or mentor. We also teach them the concept of empathy.

Disgust is a reaction of intense displeasure or revulsion to something that is too revolting or offensive. Disgust–feelings of repulsion toward certain objects, behaviors, and people–is tremendously powerful. People are taught what is disgusting and when to be disgusted.

I truly wish I would have had a lesson on feelings in school; My husband and I would have had the tools needed to educate ourselves and our children about the internal overwhelming world of feelings. We desire that our curriculum and this blog be a great tool in your parenting tool box!

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