Posts Tagged ‘Anxious Child’
What Your Child Can’t Tell You
It’s essentially a short-cut. If you want cooperative behavior from your kids, take the short-cut by training your mind to see what’s beneath the communication. Practice seeing your child’s innocence first, and working to understand what lies beneath the foul language, the time spent with the door locked, and the “interesting” style of dress. You will find a vulnerable, changing child who simply doesn’t have insight yet. That’s our job as adults … to gain the insight and act accordingly.
Rather than exhibit anger over disrespectful behavior, acknowledge there’s an emotion that the child cannot express directly lying just under the surface. Kids get hurt a lot easier than most adults realize, so they are compelled to protect their tender hearts by lashing out. If we don’t give them cause to protect themselves (by seeing what’s really going on) they won’t have to be so defensive.
So the next time you see a child “acting out”, ask yourself what’s being communicated. It will be an emotion that the child is too young or too immature to express directly, such as hurt, frustration, disappointment, hopelessness, or something else you can help to identify. Then address the child in those terms, rather than with your own irritation. Say, “You seem upset. Want to tell me what’s up?” or “How about you take some time in your own room until you feel better and we can talk?” or “I remember being your age and feeling that same way. Sit down, and let’s try to make this better together.” You are getting to the root emotion, rather than placing judgment on the child’s behavior. Congratulations! You are on the short-cut to better communication and better behavior with your child.
Copyright © 2011 Tina Feigal
Scary Behavior and the Anxious Child
Copyright © Tina Feigal 2011
It’s the spookiest time of the year, and kids are all excited for what has proven to be their favorite holiday! How do you bring out the best in an intense child when all the dark shadows, frightening ghoulish images, unexpected fears, and candy-induced meltdowns threaten to haunt your family life?
You realize that Halloween has the potential to bring out the worst in your anxious child, so I thought you might just enjoy these 5 tips on preventing some pretty scary behavior.
1. Speak in a calm tone about Halloween. The temptation is to get excited yourself, to show enthusiasm for your normally anxious child’s experience, and to relive your own. But the effect is that it creates anxiety, so stay calmer than you normally would have.
2. Downplay the scary aspects of Halloween and emphasize the fun of running around in the dark.
3. If possible, put an anxious child in charge of keeping someone else brave and safe. Emphasize how she is needed, which will help her get through the experience feeling strong.
4. Discuss in advance how the candy will be handled. Get your child’s input, to avoid an “executive decision” and to prevent opposition. Say, “You get to decide how and when 1/4 of your candy is eaten.” Freeze at least 3/4 of it for gradual consumption over the next few months.
5. Don’t insist on trick-or-treating if your anxious child would rather stay home. If a new fear pops up, respond with compassion, and avoid saying, “You weren’t afraid of that last year!” New fears come with new awareness, which is all a part of normal child development.
Have a safe and happy Halloween, and may all the scary behavior be from the ghosts waving in the wind, and not from the fears of an anxious child.