Riding the Cyclone: Regulating Emotions in Middle School | Elaine Griffin | 6 Min Read

News flash: Water is wet and middle school is an emotional roller coaster. Strapped into their seats, students experience the highs and lows of progressing through puberty and finding their identity as well as the twists and turns of navigating more complex social relationships. They  are often awash in unrecognizable and seemingly ungovernable emotions while they climb formidable hills, plunge into stomach-wrenching demon drops, and get tossed topsy-turvy. And  they ride without the experience or tools to know that life’s strange and unexpected loops do eventually become not just manageable but even wonderful, as we learn to love the surprises unfolding around and within us.  

Does the middle school ride need to be frightening instead of exhilarating? 

Marc Brackett, a professor at Yale University’s Child Study Center and the founding director of  the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, doesn’t think so.  

Mark Brackett

Having spent his career studying emotional intelligence, Brackett contends that children can learn the skills they need to address their feelings in healthy ways. In his recently released book “Permission to Feel,” he presents a process he helped develop for young people that guides them in identifying and expressing…

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Elaine Griffin

Elaine Griffin is the Middle School Head at University School of Milwaukee, where she had previously served as an Upper School literature teacher and administrator for more than 20 years. Her essays have previously appeared in Education Next, The Once and Future Classroom, Chinese Language Matters, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Her professional interests include parent education, curricular reform, and social-emotional learning.