It seems like more and more frequently, we find ourselves bombarded with media coverage about tragedies that occur randomly and unexpected. School shootings. Bus accidents. Innocent children and youth dying. Acts of violence towards strangers. Sometimes, watching the local news can be more terrifying than the movies and television shows we “responsibly” use our parental blocks to shield our children from the horrors of computer animation and gratuitous gore and bloodshed.
It is not surprising, then, that our young ones are becoming increasingly anxious about arbitrary and general and unspecific situations. We may wonder why our sons and daughters are worried about practically everything and we may try to comfort them by telling them that they have nothing to worry about. However, in my work with children and youth, although this interaction is, at best, full of positive intentions to support and help, it is often viewed as minimizing and insincere. It can also send the message that these feelings are not okay or “normal”.
You are feeling utterly exhausted as you endure your child’s latest “meltdown”. You watch him (or her) helplessly as he (or she) thrashes about, yelling and screaming, and saying hurtful things to you and others. You desperately want to help your child but don’t know how.
For some of you, reading this scenario resonates with you. Observing angry or aggressive behaviour can elicit feelings of sadness, fear and frustration. You can’t seem to understand how your sweet, loving child can switch, almost instantly, to someone who seems inconsolable, uncontrollable, and unrecognizable.