8 Don’t Get So Upset!
active involvement, autonomy, and reflection, it is difficult to make
changes in classroom practice (Jacobson 2003).
Research about the importance of healthy emotional develop-
ment has confirmed what I have been uncovering about my own
emotional development and how I feel. It has helped me under-
stand how and why I might have struggled with my relationships,
professional or personal, these past fifty-eight years or so. Research
has especially helped me to understand and improve my relation-
ships with young children, families, and teachers. Throughout this
book I share some of these self-uncoverings, in the hope that they
will encourage you to embark on your own self-exploration.
As we learn more about ourselves, we are able to understand
more clearly why we do what we do, especially when faced with
children’s challenging behaviors. This book will not give you my
prescriptions for the best ways to manage children’s behaviors. I do
discuss interventions that worked for me and that might be appro-
priate for you to use as well. But mostly I recommend that you find
your own strategies that fit your comfort level. This will depend
on how you were disciplined as a child, what your beliefs are, or
what kinds of behaviors cause you discomfort and why. What has
worked for me may not necessarily work for you. Our life experi-
ences, earliest childhood memories, ways in which significant adults
in our life interacted with us, and problem-solving techniques are
likely to be quite different.
Overview of the Book
I begin by discussing some of the research on children’s emotional
development (chapter 1). Brain researchers explain that emotional
memory stored in the brain during the first four or five years of life
is un-erasable. The ways in which we interact with young children