It is only recently that I began seeing how when Michael had intense meltdowns and became aggressive towards himself, me, or his father, it was due to his being intensely anxious. Even so, I’ll have nights like last night. It seemed that out of nowhere, Michael got defiant and aggressive at bedtime. I had done everything right, given warnings, and we were following the appropriate bedtime routine, but things still fell apart. I am happy to say that his father and I remained calm, and Michael apologized, but he ended up going to bed without his usual night time routine due to his behavior. I originally blamed the behavior on exhaustion and stomach problems, but though they played a part for sure, I later read some very interesting articles on the part anxiety plays in children who seem to act out suddenly in certain environments. It wasn’t too hard to see Michael in some of the examples I read, and heck, I even saw myself as a young anxious girl, and later a young anxious woman. I have regained control over a lot of my past fears, but still have to reign in my own anxious thoughts from time to time. Even so, I still have those moments when I feel that the world is going to eat me up. It gave me new compassion for Michael and the fears he is experiencing and cannot always express, though he does his best to try to tell me about them. As always, I marvel at his courage.
I realized that I need to work with him on finding ways to handle his daytime anxiety, but it has to be something that speaks to him. His fears are especially intense at night, and he needs constant reassurance. He is like the many adults whose fears come out in the dark when all is quiet and their minds start racing. Last night I realized I would need to sit down with Michael and talk about ways he could relax and be in control. In order to make sure I am relaxed at bedtime, I use the following tools; positive visualization, deep breathing, prayer, and don’t laugh, I plot out stories or a novel I am working on. Thinking about my characters and where the story is going, distracts me from worrying about my own life. It also works on two levels. I fall asleep relaxed, and my masterpiece of a novel is that much closer to being finished. 🙂
Exceptional Moms, what fears or anxieties are your children displaying when they act out, either physically or psychologically? What fears are you displaying if you act out in either of these ways? Getting real about how anxiety and anger are related, can really help you take a step to fixing your own stress levels as well as your child’s. After all, when we know how we feel, for better or worse, we are that much closer to overcoming our fears and moving forward towards realizing our own power in controlling much of our future. Until next time.