Welcome back to our discussion of different techniques you can use to help children to identify, name and deal with their emotions. So far, we have looked at different tools for helping kids to name their emotions and a candy based game that helps kids to think about times and circumstances that have made them feel certain emotions.
This week, we look at a very simple game you can play with any child to gain some insight into what they are thinking and feeling. The game is simple, and we call it The Superpower Game. You ask the following question:
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
As the child answers, listen for clues to what they are feelings and what they are going through. Think about why the child might want a particular superpower and/or what emotion it might help them to deal with. For example:
- Invincibility or Super Strength could be an indication that the child is anxious about something or someone.
- X-ray vision might mean the child is struggling to understand what is going on and wants to be able to “look inside” of his/her parents to figure it out.
- Flying can signify that the child is overwhelmed and just wants to get away from it all.
- Power of Healing might suggest that the child is worried about their parents or someone else and what they are going through.
- Time Travel could suggest that the child is dealing with regrets or guilt that they want to go back and fix or a desire to have things “the way they used to be.”
- Telepathy and Mind Reading can indicate that the child feels “left in the dark” or insecure and wants to know what other people are thinking.
- Precognition or Knowing the Future could relate to anxiety about what might happen next in the child’s life.
Of course, those are just guidelines, and it’ possible that a child just want a certain power because it seems cool, so you may want to take the conversation a little further:
- Why would you want to have that power?
- Would you have a superhero name? If so, what would it be? If not, why not?
- If you had that power, what is the first way you would use it?
- What are the positives and negatives of having that power?
- Would you want to have a superhero costume? If so, what would it look like?
- Would you have any superhero gadgets? If so, what would they do?
- Would you want your friends and family to know that you had the superpower?
- Would having a superpower change how you think about yourself? If so, how?
The key is to have fun with it. When you engage children in conversation, there is not telling what you might find out!