One mother took to TikTok to share a special moment with her 4-year-old child that garnered more than 226,000 likes.
Madison Bacon, an elementary school teacher in Lubbock, Texas, has been teaching from home during the coronavirus pandemic. As an educator, foster parent and adoptive parent to her son Abel, Bacon said she has been implementing social-emotional learning techniques in her classroom and at home.
"When Abel first came to live with us, he was completely nonverbal," recalled Bacon. "He was 2-and-a-half years old and extremely speech delayed, and so he could not communicate at all when he was upset … he would just bite himself."
But an ultimate proud-parent moment was caught on the home security camera when Abel was able to demonstrate about a year's worth of social-emotional learning work by recognizing and verbalizing his frustration in a healthy and productive way.
"When he walked [up to] me and he said, 'Mom, I'm frustrated, this [problem] is difficult for me,' it was a product of a lot of work," she said, adding that she was "so blown away."
"Having the words to recognize and label one's internal experience (thoughts, feelings, urges) increases one's ability to slow down an impulsive response," said Dr. Lindsey Giller, a cynical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, on how young adults can utilize social-emotional learning techniques.
She defines social-emotional learning as the "process of how to recognize feelings in oneself, understand others' emotions and develop the skills necessary to manage interactions with others."
"Social-emotional learning helps lay the foundation to prepare people to navigate stressful situations, build and maintain positive relationships and set and achieve personal goals," she added.
Bacon recognizes that the social-emotional learning process can be applicable to all ages but was still surprised to see that the moment, posted on May 8, resonated with so many young people.
"When I [put up] the video, I was putting it out there for moms and other teachers, but what I was really surprised to see was a lot of younger people, teenagers and young adults, commenting and saying, 'I still have trouble with this,' 'I wish when I was younger, somebody would have explained this to me,'" she said.
She's happy that her son was able to make such progress with the method.
"It was a major victory. It was really emotional for me," Bacon said. "It really speaks to the fact that he's so resilient and just the most amazing kid ever."