My Mad Feelings is a bullying-prevention curriculum for young children – appropriate for preschool, kindergarten and classrooms with children up to about 7 years old.
While most anti-bullying programs focus on adolescent children, the origins of bullying can be recognized at a much younger age – when children first go to school or child care, and must learn to advocate for themselves in a social setting.
Ideally, children learn to identify feelings and express their emotions verbally rather than behaviorally. But this is a skill that needs to be taught.
Without this ability, children may instead practice self-advocacy by acting out – grabbing, hitting, hurtful talk, etc. – essentially “sharing” their uncomfortable feelings with others. Such behaviors alienate others and result in disciplinary action – creating a downward spiral in self-esteem. By adolescence, these behaviors become habitual and hard to correct – and are recognized as bullying.
My Mad Feelings is designed to prevent bullying before it begins, but it has power to do much more. When children are able to manage their feelings successfully, they can:
- Become more tolerant of others;
- Develop stronger relationships;
- Enjoy the risks involved in learning new things and having new experiences;
- Be viewed more positively by the adults who wield influence over life in school and other activities.
My Mad Feelings is a six-chapter classroom curriculum typically taught over the course of 12 sessions. It involves small-group discussion, handouts for parents and ongoing reinforcement in school and – ideally – at home.
Training to teach this curriculum has been approved through the State of Ohio’s Step Up To Quality initiative.
- My Mad Feelings has been nominated for the 2015 Anna Freud Educational Achievement Award of the American Psychoanalytic Association for psychoanalytically informed work with Pre K-12 educators, schools and their students.
- It also was one of only seven programs selected to participate in the 2015 “bigBANG! Fast-Pitch” competition by Social Venture Partners Cleveland.
There are two ways to access the benefits of My Mad Feelings:
- Bring one of our trained therapists to teach the curriculum at your school, child-care facility, parenting group or other organization. Inquire here.
- Obtain training to teach the curriculum yourself, through Helping Children Express Their Mad Feelings, a 20-hour training program approved by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Ohio Department of Education. It is designed for early learning professionals, but is appropriate for others including parents. More information.
My Mad Feelings is developed by Victoria Todd, LISW-S, a child and adolescent psychoanalyst.
Read Victoria Todd’s message to teachers and guidance counselors.