In today’s EQ Evolution podcast Candice Dick shares her personal experience as an anxious child and her insights and lessons as an emotional intelligence teacher and parent educator.
Anxiety, if you don’t experience it regularly can be hard to relate to or understand and so part of the sharing is to help understand that every person’s perspective is unique in how they experience emotions and so it’s powerful to be respectful and curious with others as opposed to disowning or judging where they are at.
Fact will not counter emotions. Being told that there is ‘nothing to be scared of just invalidates a person’s experience. It basically says I know better, I have information, knowledge, facts that means what you should not be afraid. So stop it. Just stop it because I say so. It doesn’t work!
Step into their world. Validate their experience
Just because children are small it does not mean that their emotions are small or any less real than adult emotions and so it is powerful to recognise every person’s experience is valid and unique. Their stimuli may be imagined or not but the emotion is real. It’s valuable to get down and step into their world and
If they are old enough (verbal) be curious to understand where they are.
- Tell me more.
- What are you thinking about?
- What is making you feel scared.
Validating the experience and may include…
- I can see you are feeling … (fill in the blank).
- It looks like you are really finding this touch.
- You look nervous, anxious, afraid. Do you want to tell me more?
Emotional Adventuring with Anxious Children
A process to explore emotions using the visual brain to connect with the body and emotions. Works incredibly well with young children or people who are visual thinkers. Ask questions such as:
- How big is the anxiety out of 10?
- Where is the feeling sitting in your body?
- Does it have a colour? A shape? A texture? An image?
- What is the feeling wanting to do?
- Can you allow it to do that and see what happens?
This is a version of Dr Dan Siegal’s Name to Tame which is explained in Episode 3.
Visual Journalling – Video Demo
Take a watch of this 3 min video to see what this is all about. It’s a way to use fun colouring to express emotions and set intentions to shift. Take a look.
It’s important in the situations where we deal with anxious children. Especially if our childrn’s fear is unsettling us. Then our children are feeding off our anxiety, uncertainty over their anxiety, or our frustration or reactivity.
If we are going to validate their emotions we have to be centered in our own calm, grounded place. What will it take for you to be calm and avaiable to see their experience?
If we hope to change feeling patterns we need to meet children in their experience. To seek to understand where they are. To validate their experience and the feelings they are having. Then once we have connected, once they’re feeling safe, we can support them in exploring new choices and alternatives feelings and actions to get where they want to go.
Resources mentioned in the podcast