My 4 year old daughter has always struggled with emotions. I remember her, at a very young age, sobbing uncontrollably because she saw a cartoon drawing depicting an angry face. So when the movie Inside Out was released I was eccstatic, and incredibly nervous all at the same time. I knew that she would appreciate the humor, but would it trigger a anxiety driven freak out mid theatre? I was hesitant.
Luckly, we took her to see the movie and she loved it. She proudly toted her Disgust doll along with us, and gave it frequent snuggles throuhout the screening. At this point Disgust was the only character from the movie, beside Joy, that she would interact with.
We decided to use the dolls as an exposure tool, eventually working our way up to Anger. When that doll was first placed next to her in the cart, I thought she was going to leap out. She was so petrified that I almost gave up not wanting to traumatize her. I'm so glad that I perservered, as the change in her is quite remarkable.
It has opened up a dialouge about her emotions that she would not entertain before. The different characters help her face different challenges and fears, and have made her a much more open and confident kid. They have been such a therapy tool for us. She did eventually, with the help of Sadness, become "friends" with Anger. This is an image from that day.
And while we still have a long road ahead of us, I'm so proud of her accomplishments so far.