Parents, too often we dismiss anxiety with our children thinking they just need to toughen up. When our eldest son was 4 years old, we were heading into a very busy Costco. As we headed towards the store, he turned to me saying, “Mommy I don’t want to go in there it’s too busy. There are too many people. I can’t.” What did this sensitive mom say? “Come on Matt, we are going in. You’ll be fine. Let’s go.” We got to the carts, I tucked him in the child seat and off we shopped. Hmmm, I look back on that event wondering if I did the right thing. I was thinking I was teaching him to toughen up and build resilience. Did I? The situation certainly was a huge flag reinforcing what I already knew, that my little tyke was a highly sensitive, bright and articulate child. Parents, maybe we need to stop and listen to our kids when we are madly pursuing our own holiday agendas. An accommodating or modifying pivot might be in order?
Like the other shadow emotions discussed this week, anxiety is complex and can wreak havoc within the castles of our minds. In addition, it can feed a pressure cooker of pent-up negative emotions which can result in tantrums, bouts of depression and a myriad of other dysfunctional behaviour. The first step is in the identification of the behaviour.