What to Say to you Anxious or Angry Child

Resharing this helpful infographic from @phoenixplace

My take on it is that anxiety can present itself in many ways. Our children may appear worried and scared OR they may be using delay tactics or oppositional behaviour to avoid things they are worried about! However, the anxiety is presenting itself, anxiety and worry are BIG feelings that children experience and need our help to process. 

Our little humans are sponges! They soak up more than we know and in this crazy world at the moment they are processing so many things!If we are witnessing another “meltdown”, “withdrawal” or incidence of “bad behaviour” try to take a step back and consider what might have been bubbling under the surface.

Until at least the age of 7 (and well into adulthood) we are developing our social thinking and emotional regulation skills. This means that we are constantly learning how to respond to the big feelings that can happen throughout the day. This can be in response to a tricky event or sometimes there can be a big reaction to something seemingly minor. These unexpected reactions may be a result of a misunderstanding or a cumulative effect of multiple small straws that eventually break the camels back during the day. 

As functioning (most of the time) adults.. we have learnt to respond appropriately to the size of the problem. We can throw a wobbler at the big problems but tend to keep a lid on the small annoyances that happen in the day. Our little humans are still learning to gauge the size of a problem and how to bounce back quickly from smaller problems so that they cope when more than one happens in a shorter period.

If we interpret an outburst from our children as bad behaviour this will result in us responding to it as so. This can also lead to a self fullfilling prophecy! Our children learn that big behaviours get big reactions from us! But, if we can keep our cool and take a step back we can use the “least dangerous assumption”… That something else might be bubbling under the surface to cause the behaviour… Any behaviour is a communication… Whether it be words, physical aggression or withdrawl it’s all communicating something… If we approach a situation with curiosity we are more able to use the what’s going on under the surface…

Use some of the phrases in this infographic to help your child know that you are there with them to help them through and to support a curious mindset to help you dig under that surface…

The more we model these phrases to our little humans the more we are teaching them that these are things that we CAN talk about, they they can OWN their own feelings and that there are things we CAN do that make us feel better. 

For a FREE, no obligation, 15 minute consult regarding any concerns you might have about your child get in touch 📞✉️ https://www.eatspeechtherapy.co.uk/contact-us/

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