Learning and Sharing

Our “Inner Jerks”

on June 21, 2017



Recently, I have had a few middle school age clients who needed some coaching in how to deal with their “inner jerk” and the “inner jerk” in others.  These young people are discovering that acting like a jerk is one thing, being mean and cruel is another.  Knowing the difference and knowing how to solve problems proactively matters.

We all have to share space.  Sometimes we have to share space with people who just rub us the wrong way and bring out the worst in us.  These people can, and often do, wake up our “inner jerk”.  It is our job to try and control our “inner jerk” so that we don’t wake up the jerk in others.

Identifying what it means to be difficult is a good first step.  All of us, at one time or another, have been a difficult person to someone else.  The next step is to make a plan of action on how to deal or handle the “jerks” that we encounter in our everyday life.  Using positive self-talk or your inner coach is a great strategy for reminding ourselves that we can walk away before our emotions take over and we “flip our lids”.

There will always be jerks in our life.  You can’t control anyone else’s behavior but you can work hard to try and control your own “inner jerk” and put a stop to that behavior. Learning about how the brain works helps us self-regulate.



This is a very informative video showing a hand model of the brain.  It is long, but 12 minutes in, he demonstrates to a 13 year old how the brain works and what happens when we “flip our lids”.

Middle school is a tough place.  It is full of jerks, drama, and strong feelings.  Conflicts happen.  Being prepared with a knowledge of how the brain works and a plan of action for dealing with conflict can help keep us flexible and out of trouble.

For more information on the inner jerk, go to

Find more great ideas in Thinksheets for Tweens and Teens and Socially Curious and Curiously Social.  Both are Social Thinking® publications by Michele Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke.



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