Where the Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human

Facebook Live (During Isolation) – Anxiety, Big Feelings, Tantrums, Sibling Fights … and more.

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We covered a lot of ground in our Facebook Live. Here is the link to the replay on Facebook in case you missed it, with time notes so you can skip to the bits you want.

 

Just in case you want to skip a bit …

01:10   The ‘fight’ part of anxiety – tantrums, aggression, big feelings – why it happens and what to do.

04:20  Big feelings are a call for us to come closer (even when they don’t feel that way).

06:00  Why ‘little’ things can tip them over the edge, and how to respond.

09:25  When their anxiety triggers ours – when we fight with them instead of for them – why, and what to do.

10:50  The good news about self-regulation.

16:05  How to manage transitions.

18:10  Squabbling with your teen? This might help.

18:50  The opportunities that sit inside anxiety/anger/big feelings.

20:04  Adolescents, big feelings, regulation – what they need from us.

22:50  When big anxiety looks like big fight.

24:54  How it helps to ‘meet the energy with similar energy, but not similar anger’.

29:10  How mindfulness supports a long term strengthening of the brain against anxiety.

32:00  Dealing with other stressors on top of social isolation.

33:35  How to expand the capacity to cope with anxiety and stress.

35:15  When kids won’t talk about it.

35:25  Why some kids might be regressing at the moment (clinginess, asking for help when they haven’t needed it before).

40:00  Routines – how they help (and it’s okay if some slip).

42:17  Why does my teen hear me as ‘angry’ when I’m not?

46:37  How do we role model strength and calm when we’re feeling anxious ourselves?

49:50  Sleep – strategies to help with peaceful pillow time.

1:03:02  ‘Only children’ in social isolation.

1:05:31  Dealing with sibling squabbles

1:08:28  Social media and screen time.

 

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Hey Warrior - A book about anxiety in children.








Hey Sigmund on Instagram

The need to feel safe is primal. We’re wired to The need to feel safe is primal. We’re wired to fight or flee anything that presents itself as a threat - and shame, punishment, judgement, exclusion, humiliation all count as threat, even if they come with loads of love.
.
When our kids or teens mess up - which they will, because they’re humans not robots - the way we respond can open them up to our influence or shut them down to it. It can expand the fight and the disconnection, or it can shrink it. In time they will learn to be more in control of their urge for or flight, but for now, we will need to lead the way. (Of course, we are also human, and sometimes despite our biggest efforts to stay calm, we will step into the ring rather than wait for them to step out. We’re human. It’s going to happen. And that’s okay.)
.
If we want them to be open to our influence, we first need to calm their active amygdala (the seat of anxiety and big emotion) by sending the message that we aren’t a threat. We can do this by validating their feelings or the need behind their behaviour (if we know what that is).
.
Validation doesn’t mean agreeing with them, and it doesn’t mean approving of their behaviour. What it means is letting them know that we want to understand the world through their lens. ‘I can see you’re really upset about this.’ ‘It sounds as though you’re worried I’m going to get in your way. I can see this is important to you. I really want to understand. Can you talk to me about this?’
.
When we do this, it sends a message to the protective, powerful, emotional amygdala that it’s safe and that it can back down. This will start to switch off the need to fight us or flee (ignore) us and open them up to our influence, support, warmth and guidance.
.
It also doesn’t mean giving them a free pass on ‘unadorable’ behaviour. What it means is letting them know that we see them, and that we understand there is something important they need. When things are calm, they will be much more open to exploring their decisions, their behaviour, the consequences of that (including any consequences for them), and what they can do differently in the future.
⠀⠀

The need to feel safe is primal. We’re wired to fight or flee anything that presents itself as a threat - and shame, punishment, judgement, exclusion, humiliation all count as threat, even if they come with loads of love.
.
When our kids or teens mess up - which they will, because they’re humans not robots - the way we respond can open them up to our influence or shut them down to it. It can expand the fight and the disconnection, or it can shrink it. In time they will learn to be more in control of their urge for or flight, but for now, we will need to lead the way. (Of course, we are also human, and sometimes despite our biggest efforts to stay calm, we will step into the ring rather than wait for them to step out. We’re human. It’s going to happen. And that’s okay.)
.
If we want them to be open to our influence, we first need to calm their active amygdala (the seat of anxiety and big emotion) by sending the message that we aren’t a threat. We can do this by validating their feelings or the need behind their behaviour (if we know what that is).
.
Validation doesn’t mean agreeing with them, and it doesn’t mean approving of their behaviour. What it means is letting them know that we want to understand the world through their lens. ‘I can see you’re really upset about this.’ ‘It sounds as though you’re worried I’m going to get in your way. I can see this is important to you. I really want to understand. Can you talk to me about this?’
.
When we do this, it sends a message to the protective, powerful, emotional amygdala that it’s safe and that it can back down. This will start to switch off the need to fight us or flee (ignore) us and open them up to our influence, support, warmth and guidance.
.
It also doesn’t mean giving them a free pass on ‘unadorable’ behaviour. What it means is letting them know that we see them, and that we understand there is something important they need. When things are calm, they will be much more open to exploring their decisions, their behaviour, the consequences of that (including any consequences for them), and what they can do differently in the future.
⠀⠀
...







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