When we think of being afraid, we think: sweaty palms, freezing up, shaky hands. But maybe you haven’t considered what anxiety looks like in children — and that it can manifest as tantrums.

Your child is whining and inconsolable.

After you put her to bed, she keeps coming out of her room, unable to sleep. When you ask her to do something or try to speak with her, she acts out or misbehaves. She’s throwing things, destroying things. Maybe your child is having tantrums, yelling and crying. 

Your knee-jerk reaction might be to think your child’s just angry, or that they’re trying to cause trouble for you.

After all, they’re getting under your skin. This has to be the intention, right? Why else would your child behave like this?

But the truth is, children are still developing the emotional parts of their brains.

Acting out is often a way for them to communicate — to tell you they’re scared, overwhelmed, or confused, and that they don’t know what to do with these feelings they can’t understand. 

Think of this overwhelm like loose energy.

Children have not yet built the outlets to channel that energy through, which adults have. So, the only way they have to express it is by sending out waves and zapping others. As a parent, you have the ability and responsibility to listen to your child and help them build those healthy outlets. 

As the weeks go by, we’ll continue to give you tools and insights to help you do just that.

What changes have you noticed in your child’s behavior and/or emotions?

By Laila Alexander (Regular Guest Blogger)