RE: Emotions in children



Dear Prachi, In my art therapy experience with angry early adolescents they act out their anger according to the source of the pain. I don’t think we do a very good job of teaching open communication or ways to deal with anger. Our communities have little capacity for such big emotions, so we sweep them under the mat or give them a pill. So kids act out in class by being silly or with risky behaviour. They become bullies, or they join gangs, or they self-harm. Withdrawal in the form of excessive video playing, or reading is another sign of displaced anger.
My art therapist experience is that the anger shows up in art in as diverse ways as there are clients. Some show blood and aggression, others work on making their pieces as pretty as can be. But when it comes to the truly from-the-heart art, they depict the source of their anger. Those depictions are usually in metaphor, so they require the experience of an art therapist who may choose to open a discussion around the art or allow the child the satisfaction of anonymity within the art.Often it is enough for them to have been witnessed and understood at a deeper level than just talking fosters.