In response to an email on the school killings in Colorado.....
>Wednesday, April 28, 1999 9:39 PM
>I have a question regarding the school shooting. Do you
think what is
>happening is a result of boys not being able to express
>their vulnerable emotions, so they end up expressing themselves through
>violence? Today we had a shooting here in Canada. They said it wouldn't
>happen here, but it did.
Thank you .....Dave S. Alberta, Canada
I have a long answer to your question. Here it is:
- teachers are given emotional skills training
- policy makers and administrators start to value emotions
- respect is no longer defined as obedience
- children are taught emotional intelligence
...schools will continue to produce destructive
children, whether it is property or lives, including
their own, that they are destroying.
More specifically to the case in Colorado:
These boys in Colorado found a way to give their lives meaning over the past few years since they left school. They found a way to fill their unmet emotional needs. They found a way to feel powerful. They found a way to fill the needs that were causing them the most pain-- Pain that was created by the society they lived in, by the parents who utterly failed to meet their emotional and psychological needs, and by the school system that teaches the wrong values and uses archaic and inhumane methods to do it.
Dave also asks:
>Any suggestions on what I can do as a therapist working with angry teens?
1. Validate their feelings.
2. Help them express their feelings with feeling words.
3. Teach the difference between thoughts, beliefs, judgements and feelings.
4. Stop using the word anger. Teach that it is a secondary emotion.
5. Help them identify their primary unmet emotional needs.
6. Help them learn to take responsibility for their lives, to feel empowered and never victimized.
7. Study my list of human emotional needs.
8. Help them learn to find healthy ways to meet their natural needs.
9. Show teachers how to help fill their students emotional needs.
Here is a little more "radical" suggestion:
Ask students to tape record sarastic, demeaning, invalidating comments
made by teachers and play the tapes for you. -- Then work with the teachers
or if they won't cooperate, ask the principal to take action. Show the kids
you are serious about their feelings.
And finally, to help the prevent problems in the next generation, begin teaching parenting classes and work to help establish minimum competency standards for parents. (See the book "Licensing Parents", by Jack Westman)