Volcano Analogy to Explain and Manage Triggers

The Volcano analogy strategy for parents and teachers encourages children to manage emotions in a positive way.

Within the base of a volcano, lava swirls, sometimes bubbling and popping, but generally remaining at the same level. This swirling lava is used to represent some of our underlying emotions such as shame, fear, pain, hopelessness, helplessness, abandonment, despair, confusion and loneliness.

Feelings eruptions for children might look like temper tantrums, defiance, meltdowns, and fights with siblings. Feelings eruptions for adults might look like yelling at our children, being grumpy, snapping at coworkers or, let’s be honest, temper tantrums with our significant others. 

These eruptions can also take the form of panic attacks or physical symptoms like headaches or stomach aches.

Working with families, I often find that the parent or care-giver who is closest to the child receives the brunt of the volcanic explosions.  As parents, it falls on us to handle the burden of our children’s emotions as they are unable to do so themselves.  It is through this process that they will learn how to successfully manage and control how best to handle their feelings in the future.

Expect Explosions:  

By accepting that emotional outbursts are an important part of growing up and learning to manage emotions, we as parents are better prepared for managing them when they inevitably come.



Remain Calm in the Face of Emotional Lava:

When kids explode, they have reached a tipping point where they are no longer able to contain the difficult emotions that have been gathering for days.

Exploding ourselves gives these overwhelming emotions power and weight. Staying calm Is key!

Collaborate as a family about what your TRIGGERS are and what works best for the individual to bring down the lava. You can find a printable worksheet for this along with the script below.

Create a Narrative:

Use this volcano analogy script in our FREE Guide 


Remember when supporting your child’s LAVA to go down, HOLD SPACE by being calm and validating their emotions. 

Related: How to Hold Space for your Child’s BIG Emotions

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