Please tell your kids about The one important thing "Inside Out" got wrong!

anxiety, depression, learning problems

My blog from last week (click here if you missed it) was about questions to ask kids after seeing the movie Inside Out. As I said in this blog , I thought this move was awesome.  I thought it was a great learning tool and conversation starter for kids and parents.  

I loved how the film introduced the ideas of a range of emotions.  I loved how sadness was important for getting help.  I liked the idea of “personality islands” which stood for a person’s interests and values.  I liked the ideas of memories being formed each day, the idea of the subconscious and dream land was very cool indeed.

But there is one thing Inside Out got all wrong.   And I think it's really important we tell our kids about it. 

The problem I had with "Inside Out" is about who is standing at the control panel in Riley’s brain.  

In the movie, the control panel (the console which determined what she did in her life - what she said, where she went and her actions) was operated by Riley's emotions.

Sometimes fear operated the control panel, sometimes it was anger, joy or disgust.

In real life - this is NOT how it works.  Our emotions do not get to stand at that control panel.  We do.

Sure emotions definitely influence what we do and say.  It's like this - emotions are standing next to us at the control panel - telling us to do one thing or another.  Emotions change how our body FEELS.  Emotions make us notice different things.  Emotions make our experiences very different.  Emotions try to get us to run away, run towards, speak, stay silent - they TRY to get us to do different things.  Sometimes those emotions are standing right by us at the control panel and YELLING at us.  It feels like they are in control.

But they don't get to touch the panel.  Ultimate control of what we do and say rests with us.  It rests with the part of us that is bigger than our emotions.  The part of us which knows what is important, what matters and what we really want.  We are at that control panel - our emotions never get to decide what we do.

I wish the movie had shown this.  If I was the Inside Out producer, I would have put an “Riley boss” at that control panel.  "Riley boss" would have listened to all her emotions and noticed what they wanted her to do – but at the end of the day, she would be the only one allowed to touch that control panel.  

These are important, vital messages for our kids.  

Listen to your feelings.  
Notice what they want you to do. 
Don't blame yourself for having any feelings - ever.
Remember feelings are a part of you.  
But know this:  you are in control of your control panel.  Regardless of what feelings you have, you get to decide what to do.
You can create your personality islands and decide – what shall I do next? 

You are totally the boss of that control panel, and that’s really cool.

Pixar, give me a call :) :)

500 kids who know what to do when Life Sucks!

I have TOTALLY been blown away by the sales of When Life Sucks for kids in the last two weeks.  Wednesday fortnight ago I put this book for sale on my site thinking I might sell a few copies this week.  

Well, its' been two weeks and 500 sales later (and still ticking away) and I am amazed.  We have had to rapidly reprint and are in the process of doing a third reprint to meet demand.  I've had emails (and pictures of cute kids reading the book!) sent to me about families finding it helpful - which has been an AMAZING experience. Thanks SO much for the feedback, I read each and every email personally and I am hugely grateful.

People have asked about putting a message in their school newlsetter about the book - please feel free to do so, if you would like a paragraph and a link - feel free to email me directly at - and I will send it through.

If you would like to buy a copy yourself (there is 10 days left of the special introductory price before it goes up) feel free to ciick here for details