As we recover from the COVID 19 pandemic, many families are struggling. Children are facing challenges at school and at home – including in academic, emotional, and social arenas. While rates of anxiety and depression were already high pre-pandemic, they are now present in youth at alarming rates. Parents tell me that they are struggling with how best to help their children. Plus many parents are facing their own difficulties on top of wondering how to meet the needs of their child.
Raising children is one of the most challenging jobs, and despite that, many people feel utterly underprepared. I want to share with you one of the most magical tools in my personal parenting toolkit with my own three children.
Understanding how emotions function in humans has been instrumental in guiding how I parent my three children, and it’s one of my favourite pieces of education to teach parents when we begin treatment together. Having a framework to lean back on helps parents to know what’s happening moment to moment.
Anxiety is the body’s natural alarm system that signals some kind of threat in the environment. It’s an important emotion, and one that has likely ensured our survival. Through evolution, anxiety has served us well- it alerts us to predators, helps us to protect our young, and prepares us for action through the fight, flight and freeze response- when needed.
Why won’t my child listen? Why is he being so defiant? Why do I have to ask so many times for her to do what I need her to do?! Oppositionality is defined as the refusal to conform to the ordinary requirements of authority and a willful contrariness.