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What “Inside Out” can teach your kids about emotions

Inside OutIf you haven’t taken your kids to see Inside Out, or if they saw it without you, run (don’t walk) to your nearest movie theater and see it immediately.  The movie has only been out a week and I’ve already used it multiple times in sessions with kids who saw it.  Every child I’ve seen this week has connected with this movie in some way and has wanted to talk about it (and yes, I already have the figurines ready for the sand tray- I couldn’t resist).  Parents too are feeling the power of this movie.

In case you haven’t heard about it already, Inside Out is the story of girl named Riley and her personified emotions (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust) that live inside her head in “Headquarters” (or conscious mind).  Her emotions guide her as she goes through a major change with her family when they move to new place.  Watching this movie, you will see the beautiful (and yet humorous) portrayal of how people are so often guided emotions and how core memories influence a person’s personality.  You’ll see how major events can change us or get us off track and how you can get back on track.  You’ll see the “train of thought” coming into headquarters (an analogy I use all the time in my work with kids) and how personality is developed.

This movie is full of amazing messages and insights…

  • All emotions serve a purpose and are important (even sadness).
  • Anger is only a problem when he gets out of control.
  • Emotions influence our actions (in both good and not so good ways).
  • Everyone has these emotions – even parents and teachers!
  • Our core memories (that come from our early experiences) are powerful and how we process them influences the kind of person we become.

I could go on forever but I don’t want to spoil it for you.  Yes, there are sad parts but like the movie demonstrates, all emotions have a purpose.  While this movie may go over the heads of younger kids, still take them to see it or have them see it later. It’s worth it.  God created emotions and He gave them to us for a reason.  This movie does a beautiful job of portraying the power and purpose of emotions.

When the movie’s over, talk about it with your kids, go out to do something fun with them and embrace your inner goofball island (you’ll understand what I mean after you’ve seen the movie…)

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