Kids: working through a rainbow of emotions

THE EMOTION: WORRY

When a child's environment is drastically changed she will worry that more unwanted changes may come. Common worries of children include: worrying that something might happen to the absent parent; worrying they might be divorced from the family (this is more common in young children who do not understand divorce); or worrying that something might happen to the parent they live with and there will be no one to take care of them.

THE SIGNS

A child who worries a lot will ask questions for reassurance. "When will you be coming home?" The child may look for an exact time and begin to worry if you're even a few minutes late. Watch for questions that show a child is seeking constant reassurance such as "You love me, right?" Or other questions that show the child is seeking affirmation of your feelings towards him.

IDEAS TO WORK WITH

You can ease a child's worries through constant affirmation and consistency. When you go out, let your child know when you will be home and be true to your word. This can minimize a child's fear that you won't return. The child may still ask each time you leave when you will be coming back and the process of eliminating that fear may take years. Each time you come home on time, you are one step closer to abolishing that fear.

 

To minimize the fear that something might happen to the parent outside the home, let the child get to know that parent's environment. Many times children don't understand where that parent has gone and introducing the environment will help minimize that fear. Consistent phone calls can help reduce the anxiety as well. Make a phone date with your child. For example call on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:00 PM.

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