17 votes

How Inuit Parents Teach Kids To Control Their Anger

5 comments

  1. ainar-g Link
    More and more I think that behaviourists mostly got it right. Kids want to fit in, they want to “act adult”. How do you use that to make them stop a hurtful behaviour? You gently make them feel...

    More and more I think that behaviourists mostly got it right. Kids want to fit in, they want to “act adult”. How do you use that to make them stop a hurtful behaviour? You gently make them feel like the behaviour makes them look childish!

    7 votes
  2. [4]
    moocow1452 Link
    I understand that "Don't Feed the Trolls" has been internet shorthand for a while now, and the mileage on that phase will vary now that we're in a phase of Internet Toxicity in defense of being...

    I understand that "Don't Feed the Trolls" has been internet shorthand for a while now, and the mileage on that phase will vary now that we're in a phase of Internet Toxicity in defense of being toxic on the internet, but it seems like "anger is to be ignored and trained out of yourself as a childish impulse" really wouldn't work as broadly as the author implies. Maybe it's only an early development thing and if we lived in a society where it was the norm it would be fine, but this kind of ties into the flip side of the CFS thing from yesterday where anger is pretty damn useful of getting across what offends and minimizes you, and encouraging anger as childish just seems to gamify it.

    1. [2]
      papasquat Link Parent
      I really disagree. Anger is an evolutionary tool designed to elicit submission and fear in others. It's almost never useful in modern life, especially for exchanging ideas and getting a point...

      anger is pretty damn useful of getting across what offends and minimizes you

      I really disagree. Anger is an evolutionary tool designed to elicit submission and fear in others. It's almost never useful in modern life, especially for exchanging ideas and getting a point across. The normal response to anger is either submission, or a challenge with increased aggression. Neither one of those responses is useful for actually conveying an idea to someone. Anger as an emotion will almost never solve the types of complex problems that arise in modern life. It's a simple emotion for a simpler time.
      I agree with the article, but I'd even take it one step further. Not only is anger childish from the point of view of an individual's personal development, but I think it's childish on an evolutionary timescale. It's a vestigial emotion left over from when people had to scare predators away regularly and force opposing tribes into submission. Reducing it all around should be a major goal for humanity.

      4 votes
      1. moocow1452 Link Parent
        In the frame of, anger is a biproduct of us being interacting meaty things and social change being as easy at it is on paper, I'd agree that less anger would be better for a cleaner world....

        In the frame of, anger is a biproduct of us being interacting meaty things and social change being as easy at it is on paper, I'd agree that less anger would be better for a cleaner world. However, there was that comment earlier about advocation and activism and while the world would be better if it was all advocation all the time, sometimes things get stuck at the most comfortable levels for all parties involved, and a lot of the time, that just doesn't line up with the platonic ideal of justice.

    2. smores Link Parent
      I don't think "don't feed the trolls" necessarily applies here. A key point made by one of the parents early in the article is that kids aren't trolls. Children, for the most part, aren't doing...

      I don't think "don't feed the trolls" necessarily applies here. A key point made by one of the parents early in the article is that kids aren't trolls. Children, for the most part, aren't doing things to get a rise out of adults; they're testing social boundaries to learn what happens. And even that is probably giving them too much credit; they're testing social boundaries because they don't have fully developed pre-frontal cortices, and as the Inuit (and the quoted developmental psychologists) have learned, these tests are a great opportunity to teach about social boundaries.

      I also don't think it's totally accurate to say that the article suggests ignoring anger. A few times, the author repeats that the goal of these dramas is to teach children to move quickly and smoothly from anger to another state. A necessary part of that transition is identifying anger when it's present. With regards to the CFS conversation, I don't think that being able to identify anger and prevent yourself from lashing out in anger prevents you from being able to effectively communicate what offends and minimizes you. Think about a march. In fact, think about specifically MLK and James Bevel's march in Birmingham. That was not a rash act of anger; it was only possible because of the SCLC's leaders and their ability to identify anger and then transition into a state of problem solving.

      You make a good point bringing up the importance of taking these intervening actions during young childhood. I think a critical component of the efficacy of such interventions is that human children are necessarily driven to learn about social interactions. I don't think the same approach necessarily applies to adults with fully formed prefrontal cortices; it's not that they can't learn the same behaviors, it's just that they would have to intentionally open themselves to that change.

      2 votes