Importance of Externalizing Anxiety

Share On Social Media
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Anxiety is a tyrant. It orders your child around, tells them they’re not good enough, and instills fear in them. Suddenly, your nervous youngster begins to regard anxiety as a part of themselves, lowering their self-esteem and self-esteem. The greatest technique to assist your youngster deal with anxiety is to name the worry monster, ensuring that the concern is visible to others. This strategy enables children to maintain their identity while externalizing their anxieties as the bully.

You must explain to your child that the nervous thoughts and sensations result from a worry monster or bully. This worry monster or bully is attempting to frighten you, but you are not required to listen to it. This concept isolates the child’s fear from his or her identity.

To demonstrate the concept of the worry monster in their heads, use examples of youngsters who are mean or dictatorial at school. You do not have to listen to the bully in your thoughts, just as you would not listen to the bully at school.

THE WORRY MONSTER’S NAME
The child should be tasked with naming the worry monster. There are no rules when it comes to naming your child; simply allow them to come up with a name to refer to when they are being misled by the worry monster. Some kids choose names associated with worries, such as Brain Bully, Brain Monster, Meanie, Mr. Perfect, Mr. Negative, or Amy G. Dala (from the word amygdala). Other youngsters choose names just because they enjoy the sound of them. “Sam” is the name my kid gave to her anxiety monster. She wanted a name that no one else in her family had. She had never met a “Sam” as a second-grader.

IMAGE OF THE WORRY MONSTER
After your child has named his or her worry monster, have them sketch a picture of what they envision it to look like. Encourage them to be imaginative and to take their time when adding colors and details. Sam, my daughter’s worry monster, is seen below, which she drew in second grade. Display this image in a prominent position to remind everyone in the house that the worry monster is anxiety, not your child.

Worry Monster Is Extending Anxiety

REMOVING ANXIETY FROM ITS PLACE
Now that you and your child have a name and a picture of this dreadful worry monster, it’s time to start placing the anxiety in its proper place! When your child begins to feel nervous, you and your child must address the worry monster by name rather than directly to your child. When you speak to the worry rather than the child, you remove the child’s negative self-image. This externalization alleviates some of the anxiety’s identity as a part of the child. It is critical that youngsters understand that they control their stress rather than the anxiety controlling their ideas and feelings.

EXAMPLES OF HOW TO TALK TO THE WORRY MONSTER
A youngster with perfectionist inclinations becomes concerned when they make a mistake. “Mr. Perfect, I know you’re trying to convince me mistakes are terrible, but I know it’s okay to make a mistake,” the child says to the worried parent. I’m not going to pay attention to you.” As a parent, you might tell your child, “Mr. Perfect, I see you’re trying to tell [child’s name] that he has to be perfect, but we all know that nobody is perfect, and that’s okay.”

A child suffering from separation anxiety begins to worry about leaving for school. As a parent, you can say, “It appears that Bossy Pants is attempting to terrify you.” I know Bossy Pants is noisy and frightening, but you are brave and know that I will see you as soon as school is over. “Be brave, and don’t listen to obnoxious old Bossy Pants.” “Bossy Pants is scaring me about school right now,” a child may say. I’m telling her she’s just a bully, and even though I’m terrified, I know I’ll see her after school.”

A parent notices their child avoiding the doorknob because they are afraid of germs. “I notice Meanie is making it difficult for you to open the door right now,” the parent may add. “What can you say to Meanie to get him to stop yelling?” “Leave me alone, Meanie,” a child may say. Snub someone else. “I’m going to go outside and open this door.”

Externalizing anxiety by labeling and referring to it as a worry monster does not make it go away, but it does remove the concern from the child’s identity. The more frequently your child can reframe their thinking by standing up to the worry monster, talking back to it, and defying what it says, the more successful they will be in getting away from the anxiety.

concern monstrous

The new book, Helping Children Manage Anxiety at School, details externalizing a worry monster. More information can be found there.

I recently discovered Shy Mommy Life, where a woman with social anxiety addressed a message to her fear. It demonstrated that making a worry monster isn’t the only technique to externalize concern. Writing a letter may be a way for older children to express their feelings about their anxiousness.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: