A Journey Through Emotions - A Child Psychiatrist's Perspective

by RItu Goel | June 18, 2024 | Blogs | 0 comments


Summer break is here, and it's the perfect time for kids to unwind, have fun, and explore new experiences. While outdoor activities and vacations are a blast, there's also plenty of room for some quality indoor entertainment. If you're looking for a meaningful way to spend time with your kids that combines fun with valuable lessons, Disney-Pixar's Inside Out 2 is a must-watch.

Imagine diving into a world where your feelings have personalities, and every emotion is a colorful character navigating the ups and downs of life with you. That's exactly what Disney-Pixar's “Inside Out” brought to us, and now with “Inside Out 2”, the adventure gets even more exciting! If you’ve ever wondered what goes on in your child's mind or even your own, this movie is right on point. Join us as we explore why “Inside Out 2” is not just a fun family movie but a powerful tool for understanding and managing emotions.

The Power of Emotional Awareness

Inside Out 2 continues the journey of Riley and her core emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. This sequel dives deeper into the teenage years, a critical period where emotional awareness is paramount. For children, recognizing and naming their emotions is the first step towards emotional intelligence. The movie provides a visual and narrative representation of this process, making it relatable and easy to grasp.

Synopsis: What Happens in Inside Out 2?

In this sequel, Riley is now navigating the turbulent waters of adolescence. The movie introduces new emotions, broadening the spectrum of feelings she experiences. As Riley faces typical teenage challenges—peer pressure, identity formation, and the quest for independence—her emotions are in a constant tug-of-war, trying to help her make sense of it all.

From a psychiatrist's viewpoint, this portrayal is incredibly valuable. Adolescence is often marked by emotional volatility. By watching Riley's journey, young viewers can see that their feelings, no matter how intense or confusing, are a normal part of growing up.

Emotional Literacy Through Storytelling

Inside Out 2 does more than entertain; it educates. The movie’s narrative serves as a springboard for discussions about emotions. Families can use scenes from the film to talk about their own experiences and feelings. For example:

  • Joy's Role: How does Riley find happiness in small moments amidst the chaos of teenage life? What activities bring you joy?
  • Sadness's Importance: Sadness isn't just about tears; it's about empathy and connection. When have you felt sad, and how did it help you connect with others?
  • Anxiety's Function: Anxiety can protect us, but it can also hold us back. What fears do you have, and how can you manage them?

A Tool for Parents and Guardians

For parents, Inside Out 2 is a gift. It opens avenues for meaningful conversations with their children about emotions. The movie’s vivid portrayal of feelings provides a common language that can be used at home to discuss and validate emotions. Understanding that it’s okay to feel a range of emotions—sometimes all at once—can be incredibly reassuring for a child.

Enhancing Emotional Intelligence

By watching Riley navigate her internal landscape, children and teens can learn valuable lessons about emotional regulation and resilience. The movie highlights the importance of acknowledging all emotions, not just the pleasant ones. This balanced view promotes a healthier emotional life, encouraging kids to understand that emotions are temporary states that provide valuable information about their needs and experiences.

Memories: Good, Bad, and Long-Term

Memories play a significant role in shaping who we are and how we perceive the world. Inside Out 2 delves into the complexity of memories and their impact on Riley's life. Here's what the movie teaches about memories:

  1. Formation of Memories: The film shows how experiences turn into memories, highlighting the role of emotions in this process. For children, this can be a valuable lesson in understanding why certain events are memorable.
  2. Good and Bad Memories: Both positive and negative memories are crucial for emotional growth. The movie illustrates how Riley's happy and sad memories coexist, teaching children the importance of accepting all parts of their past.
  3. Long-Term Memories: The movie explores how certain memories transition into long-term storage, shaping Riley's personality and beliefs. This can help children understand how their past experiences influence their current behavior and attitudes.

Belief Systems

Belief systems are formed through repeated experiences and the emotions associated with them. Inside Out 2 provides insights into how Riley's core beliefs are shaped:

  • Core Memories: The movie emphasizes the significance of core memories in forming Riley's fundamental beliefs about herself and the world. For example, if Riley has repeated experiences of feeling inadequate during school activities, she might develop a core belief that "I am not good enough." This concept can help children understand why certain beliefs are so strong and hard to change.
  • Evolution of Beliefs: As Riley grows and experiences new things, her beliefs evolve. For instance, as she gains new achievements and positive feedback, her belief might shift from "I am not good enough" to "I can do it; I've done it before." The film shows that it's normal for beliefs to change over time, encouraging children to be open-minded and adaptable.

Supporting Children and Teens on the Autism Spectrum

Children and teens on the autism spectrum often face unique challenges in understanding and expressing their emotions. Inside Out 2 can be particularly beneficial for these individuals by providing a concrete and visual representation of abstract emotional concepts. Here’s how the movie can help:

  1. Visual Learning: Many individuals on the autism spectrum are visual learners. The colorful and animated depiction of emotions in Inside Out 2 makes it easier for them to grasp what different emotions look like and how they interact.
  2. Emotional Recognition: The movie can help children on the spectrum recognize and label their own emotions. By seeing characters experience and express a wide range of feelings, they can better understand their own emotional responses.
  3. Social Cues: Understanding social cues and emotions in others can be challenging for those on the autism spectrum. Inside Out 2 illustrates how different emotions influence behaviour, which can enhance social understanding and empathy.
  4. Routine and Change: The movie addresses changes and transitions, common sources of anxiety for those on the spectrum. By watching Riley navigate changes in her life, viewers can learn strategies for coping with their own transitions.

Practical Applications: Activities to Try

  1. Emotion Diaries: After watching the movie, encourage your child to keep an emotion diary. They can jot down what they felt during the day and what triggered those feelings. This practice enhances self-awareness and emotional literacy.
  2. Role-Playing: Use scenes from the movie to role-play different emotional scenarios. This can help children understand various perspectives and develop empathy.
  3. Creative Expressions: Drawing or painting their emotions can be a therapeutic way for children to express what they’re feeling inside.
  4. Memory Collages: Create collages with your children to represent their good and bad memories. Discuss how these memories shape their beliefs and how they view the world.
  5. Social Stories: Create social stories based on scenes from Inside Out 2. These stories can help children on the spectrum understand and navigate their own emotional experiences.

Conclusion: A Must-Watch for Families

Inside Out 2 is more than just a sequel; it’s a powerful educational tool wrapped in entertainment. It offers a unique opportunity for children, teens, and families to explore and understand their emotions. By integrating the lessons from the movie into daily life, we can help our children build a strong foundation of emotional intelligence that will serve them well into adulthood.

So, grab some popcorn, sit back, and let Inside Out 2 take you on an emotional journey. It’s not just a movie; it’s a steppingstone towards a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other.

  1. What is the main message of Inside Out 2?
    • The main message is the importance of understanding and accepting all emotions as part of our growth, especially during adolescence.
  1. How can Inside Out 2 help children with their emotions?
    • It provides a relatable depiction of emotions, making it easier for children to identify and discuss their feelings.
  1. Is Inside Out 2 suitable for all ages?
    • Yes, while it primarily targets older children and teens, the lessons are valuable for viewers of all ages.
  1. Can watching Inside Out 2 improve a child's emotional intelligence?
    • Absolutely. The movie promotes emotional literacy, self-awareness, and empathy, all of which are key components of emotional intelligence.
  1. What activities can families do after watching Inside Out 2?
    • Families can keep emotion diaries, engage in role-playing scenarios from the movie, use creative expression to explore their feelings further, and create memory collages to understand the impact of memories on their beliefs.