A vital part of growing up involves learning how to express and regulate emotions. Now a study takes a look at some ways parents can help kids do just that.
Whether they’re happy, mad, or any feeling in-between, your child may have lots of emotions. Sometimes, those emotions may be a little hard for them to name or even control. Now psychologists from Brooklyn College are showing how you can use drawing to help your child regulate their emotions.
In one study they asked kids to think about a time that they were disappointed. Then half the kids were asked to draw the disappointing experience as a way to vent and the other half were asked to draw a house as a means of distraction. They were given five minutes and then were asked about their mood.
The researchers found even though both groups reported an improvement in mood after drawing, the group drawing houses as a distraction reported greater improvement in mood than the vent group.
The researchers performed the study again on a separate group of kids, this time adding a third group, who were told to copy a drawing. They found the kids who were told to free-hand draw a house had a greater improvement in mood over the ones who were told to copy an image. So, let your child’s creativity fly to perk up their mood.
The researchers did caution that in the case of a traumatic event, venting might be a healthier strategy for long-term recovery and to allow kids to initiate dialogue to make sense of the trauma.