As we continue to reshape our new normal, we are beginning to come down from the height of our anxiety and may feel flustered and puzzled with how to move forward properly. We all have different defense mechanisms and coping skills that we begin to implement during these times. Yet how are these tools implemented by children who may still be learning how to self soothe and regulate. During these trying times we may feel lost and confused about who to turn to for guidance and solutions. It is important to remember the importance of transparency and honesty. As parents we do not have all the answers.
Many of us are sitting with big emotions we are learning to wade through however it is important to remember that the children of this country are feeling just as big of an impact; if not more. They feel their own feelings all while trying to navigate their parent’s emotions and actions to find clarity. Here are a few symptoms to watch out for:
- The child’s behaviors revert to a younger age.
- The child becomes distant emotionally or becomes overly stimulated.
- Negative self-talk or image.
It is important that we recognize the significance of these changes and respond in an appropriate way. Below are some ideas of how to approach:
- Be calm and acknowledge the child's emotion with them. Sit with them while they process and ask questions to be sure you both have a clear understanding of what is being felt.
- Discuss the emotion or emotions they are feeling and what the sensation is like. Many children feel emotions somatically without understanding the sensations.
- Give examples of some emotions coming up for you personally during all these changes to help them make connections.
- When necessary use imagination as a tool and play out, act out, draw out or use storytelling as a resource to give examples of what feelings and conflict look like in the body.
Natasha Griffin is a Marriage and Family Therapist, Trainee. She is supervised by Danielle Fitch, LMFT #94672.