The naughty step is out and the feelings wheel is in! Psychological tool developed in 1980 is having a revival among trendy millennial parents – and even Kate has praised it
Parenting trends come and go, with psychologists, childminders and other experts continually offering new techniques for both nurturing and disciplining children.
But while modern techniques like the naughty step and the reward chart were once the parenting trends of the moment, one of the most recently popular tools, the feelings wheel, was first coined in the 1980s—and is now experiencing a resurgence.
As some Millennial parents move toward “positive parenting,” which prioritizes understanding bad behavior over strict discipline, the feelings wheel is being used to help children identify their emotions — and at its Early Years Symposium on Wednesday the Princess of Wales revealed five-year-old Prince Louis used the device with his classmates at Lambrook School.
The concept presents a circular graph that shows a range of different human emotions, and also shows how each feeling relates to other feelings. It also groups smaller feelings under a broader umbrella, ranging from anger and contempt to joy and love.
Psychologist Robert Plutchik, a professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in South Florida, created the wheel and determined that people experience eight basic emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, anticipation, anger and disgust.
The Feelings Wheel, or Wheel of Emotions, was created in 1980 by psychologist Robert Plutchik – and is experiencing a revival among trendy parents
These basic feelings can then become more intense or milder, and each emotion has an opposite pole.
He created a wheel that captured all this as a tool to help us improve our ’emotional intelligence’ – a concept that today, forty years later, is gaining hundreds of thousands of Instagram hits and a cohort of famous fans.
When Plutchik first designed the Feelings Wheel in 1980, it was originally intended for adults, not children.
With actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston encouraging us to be more aware of our feelings so we can overcome difficult ones, the wheel’s ability to help us identify and measure them is all the rage.
The Princess of Wales revealed yesterday that Prince Louis, 5, uses a feelings wheel with his classmates at school
Although there is no easy and quick way to use his wheel, Dr. Plutchik aims to help us check our emotional temperature on a random basis.
By figuring out exactly what we’re feeling at any given moment, we can see if regular patterns emerge over time and then understand what the triggers are so we can adjust our behavior accordingly, rather than reacting in a state of stress.
Simplified versions of the wheel are now popular in primary schools in the UK.
Mentally Healthy Schools has created its own version of the wheel for young students, which it says should be used for children between the ages of four and 11.
The organization recommends using the wheel several times a day so students can understand how their emotions change and learn the triggers that trigger certain emotions.
The resurgence of the feelings wheel in contemporary parenting coincides with a deeper understanding of emotions and a move away from authoritative and disciplinary parenting.
In particular, feeling wheels can be associated with positive parenting, adopting the mantra of supporting children through guidance, mapping their thoughts and feelings, and brainstorming.
Positive Parenting Solutions, which includes tools that encourage people to parent without losing their patience or nagging their children, claims that the Feelings Wheel can be used to identify the root causes of why a child is misbehaving.
A blog post on the site explains: ‘Positive parenting emphasizes that children who misbehave are not bad. Instead, they lack the skills to manage their emotions.”
It goes on to explain how you and your children can use the Feelings Wheel to identify the emotion being felt and understand the emotions associated with it.
This method allows the parent to solve the problem at the root of the bad behavior, rather than resorting to strict punishment.