William Janiak, BM, MS, RMT
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“How the Child Thinks and the Way the Teacher Reacts” -Patience-Part 1

I learned about 3 components:
1. The Emotional Component which is an arousal state or feeling experienced by the child when a goal is blocked or needs are frustrated or when the child thinks an obstacle will be difficult to remove. We, as teachers, sometimes, progress towards a goal we want to accomplish in the child but still not aware of how to eliminate those blocked obstacles. *Even the youngest children including infants and toddlers seem to sense goal blockages.

When a child’s goal is blocked by other children or by teachers, children often react by feeling angry. Example: a toddler feels angry when the goal of playing with a specific toy is blocked, after the teacher puts the child in a highchair where the toy is out of reach. A preschooler feels angry when their goal of finishing a painting is blocked after another child takes the paint needed to complete the work. This shows that children have a conflict over possessions like someone taking or destroying their property or invading their space. Mostly observed are physical assaults in which one child does something to another child such as a push or a hit. In this case, a child’s goal of playing safely has been blocked. Verbal causes such as a tease or a taunt by something said to a child can cause a problem. Rejection provokes anger when a child is ignored or not allowed to play. Issues of compliance arise when children are asked or forced to do something that they do not want to do like washing their hands.

2. The Expression Component –This second component of expression in children is the unpleasant emotion first expressed in infancy. Children who feel that an important goal has been blocked attempt to copy by expressing anger, infants encounter many events that elicit the feelings which they express with their faces and voices.

Some children vent or express through facial expressions: crying, sulking, or talking back but they do little to try to solve the problem. Other children actively resist by physically or verbally defending their position, self-esteem, or possessions in non-aggressive ways – for example “Stop pushing me!” Some children might engage in name-calling, pinching, or issuing threats. Others express dislike by telling the offender that he or she cannot play or is not liked. Others express through avoidance or attempts to escape from or evade the other child, while others seek looking for comfort from the teacher and telling the teacher what happened. We, as teachers, must respond to these different reactions to help all children express their feelings in a socially constructive not destructive way.

3. Understanding the Emotion –The third component in children “understanding the emotion.” The emotional understanding develops later than the first two components. *This is why children in early childhood setting can feel and express anger but not understand it.

*Children need guidance from teachers and parents first in understanding and then in managing their feelings of anger.