Getting Emotional With My Kids Inside and Out

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Inside Out

Despite the numerous pitches from PR folks for crazy things such as maternity bras, I am in fact a guy. And as a guy, I’m not too big on sharing my emotions. Guys in general are just awful at sharing how they feel. Toss in the fact that I view myself as a bit shy, and it may seem like pulling teeth to get me to “share my feelings.”

Yes, you should feel sorry for my wife.

She’s done a great job, though, of helping me come out of my emotional shell. So with our kids, we try to help them discover their own emotions too. I definitely want to do what I can to get Jason and Ryan to open up and talk to us about anything they want and everything they feel.

Jason’s a tough one. He’s even more clammed-up than I was. As he’s gotten older, he’s certainly gotten better, though. And he’s now at an age where Allie and I can have some real, grown-up type discussions with him about emotions and feelings.

Ryan’s still in the single digits, though, so he’s just starting to really become aware of emotions to some degree. Recently he came to us saying that two of his friends were fighting with each other and stopped speaking to one another. He’s real good friends with both and hated being in the middle of this fight. He didn’t know what to do, how to respond or even how to really process his emotions.

Allie did a fantastic job of talking him through things and thankfully his friends eventually made up. But getting Ryan (and even Jason) to get more comfortable with their emotions would be fantastic.

It’s one reason I’m really psyched for Disney/Pixar’s upcoming movie Inside Out! We’re actually taking Ryan and his friends to see it this month for his birthday party. Yeah, almost a dozen kids full of sugar, watching cartoons. Emotions will certainly be running wild!

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As expected, there are some great toys tied into the movie and I recently swung by Toys “R” Us to see what Inside Out merchandise they have to offer. I love shopping at Toys “R” Us and have been going there for… geez, decades! Nothing beats an entire store full of toys (except a house full of toys!), and I’m also a big fan of their Rewards Program where you can earn points for your purchases. We’ve gotten some great discounts thanks to the program!

Anyways, I picked up mini-figs of all the main characters: Sadness, Anger, Joy, Fear, and Disgust, as well as Bing Bong, whoever that crazy pink elephant-looking guy is. I grabbed a large Anger too, as he’s easily my favorite of the bunch. And it’s probably the one emotion everyone feels the strongest. Or at least the one that definitely needs to be kept in check the most, I’d say.

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Ryan LOVES playing with “guys.” It could be large action figures, small PVC ones or anything in between. I swear, if you give this kid a salt and pepper shaker, he’ll make an adventure out of it!


I wanted to give him these emotional mini-figs to play with and hopefully get out some of his questions/emotions while he played. Jason has a habit of jumping in on Ryan while he’s running around the room telling a story. So there’s a good chance it could rub off a bit on Jason too.

Like most brothers, I don’t think a day goes by without hearing Ryan shriek, “JAAAAASON! STOP IT!” Or vice versa. They’re brothers. They fight. They get mad. They play. It happens. Hopefully I can teach them to try talking through their issues first, before being quick to jump to anger. That’s where the large Anger doll can certainly come into play as a good reminder!


Not a day goes by without Ryan screaming his brother’s name for some crazy reason. He can be a bit quick to anger, so it’s time to introduce Ryan to the hothead himself.


Talking out his feelings and explaining why he’s angry can help Ryan calm down and get to the root of the problem.


After getting in touch with his feelings, Ryan’s able to take control of his anger and let joy back in!


It’s actually never too old to talk to your kids (or yourself for that matter) about emotions. Even just getting them to stop and think about the very idea of emotions and how they’re affecting your mood and thinking is a big step. I’m really looking forward to the movie itself, but also to seeing how such a fun, open discussion of emotions may end up sparking something within my own kids.

How do you talk to your kids about emotions?

Inside Out Toys at Toys “R” Us

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11 thoughts on “Getting Emotional With My Kids Inside and Out”

  1. When my now adult children were younger, we had family councils where everyone had a chance t0 bring up events or problems within the family. We would all discuss how we would feel about something and try to come to a solution that we all could accept. We had them when anyone felt they had a problem within the family. I found it very helpful and guided me a lot.
    I also told and acted very receptive to our children in that they could come to me with a problem and we could look at it and see which was the best way to proceed. This was a help in knowing just how much events at school or home were affecting them.
    Non-judgemental listening is a very important part in these discussions. I wished I had started it a few years before I did. I found the suggestion in a book by Dr. Haim Ginott who was a noted family psychiatrist at that time in the USA. I think these games help as well and allow children to learn how to control and learn about these emotions.

  2. This was a great movie. Full of emotions. Luckily my little guy tells me when he’s feeling mad, sad, angry or anything else. He’s a talker and I’m happy with that.

  3. My daughter and I really enjoyed this movie. I thought it portrayed multiple aspects of growing up very well, from emotions to how our personality develops/changes. It had serious themes but done in a really fun way.

  4. This movie looks so cute! The toys are adorable as well. I love that it’s teaching kids about their emotions in a fun and interesting way.

  5. I am so beyond excited for this movie to come out because I think it will open a great avenue for parents to talk to their kids about emotions in a way that their children will understand. Also? You’re shy? You shouldn’t have told me that. I have a habit of embarrassing shy people when they are in my presence. *sinisterlaughter* #client


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