by Lori Wilder on 11/26/17
As adults we tend to notice when we are not feeling good, whether it be physical, mental or emotional. Others around us notice when our frustration tolerance declines to zero (bad news!). Usually this event requires a conversation of "What is wrong with you?!" As grownups we can use our words, express our emotions to get across what is happening inside us. We can tell if we are experiencing anxiety that is at a level that we know we need to do something about. Kids~ not so much.
Kids have a much harder time expressing how they feel, sometimes because they are too young to identify emotions that are being experienced, other times it is a product of holding things in, in place of expressing fears, worries and anger.
When kids come to my office for counseling, step one is often evaluating if they can identify their emotions. This is step #1 in beating the "worry monster" that causes distress every day for them. The worry monster is the label we give to anxiety from the first session. We look at a picture (a cartoon) of the worry monster, give him/her a name and then start the work of telling that monster to STOP! We look for truth rather than the lies of that monster, and we learn to breathe and relax. STOP~ BREATHE~ THINK. This strategy over some time will cure the worry monster and allow a child to be free from the mind trap of anxiety.