IT'S NOW IN THE HANDS OF THE PUBLISHER: The Road To Mental Wellness is near completion and you'll be able to get the first chapter for FREE! Simply subscribe to our newsletter https://theroadtomentalwellness.com/the-road-to-mental-wellness/subscriber-form-free-chapter/
Mental Health

Angel And The Devil

When faced with the challenge of an anxious child, I taught her how to overcome her fear by using the angel and the devil.

When faced with an anxious child, I taught her how to overcome her fear by using the angel and the devil.

Before you reading, Angel And The Devil, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported The Road To Mental Wellness, your contributions keep me going….. Thank you! Any donations are greatly appreciated. To donate, please click the donate button below

When my daughter was a little girl, we discovered she had anxiety. Sadly, our family is riddled with it, so in someways, it wasn’t exactly a surprise.

With that said, how do you help a second-grader deal with the fears produced by her angst? Firstly, my experience with having a little one who’s fighting her on inner battles is that, it’s different for kids.

What makes dealing with anxiety in little ones different is the way in which we approach it. they are not adults. For example, when she started to experience fears of something bad happening to a loved one, I came up with this:

How to help a child with anxiety

When I was growing up, my favourite cartoon characters, when weighing the consequences of an action, they would often have an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. Essentially, it came down to; “Which voice do I listen to”? Ah, that inner devil, how many times have I fell victim to your bull.

As I was trying to help my daughter work through the negative self scripts anxiety was feeding her, I would use this cartoon visual to help her start to understand anxiety. I explained that this devil is a troublemaker, not unlike that kid at school who’s always trying to get someone in trouble. Remember that kid? I sure do.

For all intense of purposes, anxiety is in fact a devious sort. It makes up stories that ruminate in our heads until the fear is too great. This factious fear, is what keeps us up at night and stuck in our own heads.

NEED HELP? DON’T KNOW WHERE TO TURN? CHECK OUT OUR MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES PAGE

Lucky, my little girl was very familiar with this angel and the devil, shoulder example. So, it ended up being a great jumping off point to help calm her mind.

First off, making her feel safe was the top priority, so I would reassure her that daddy was there for her, tucking her back in at night and staying with her for a bit. While there, I let her explain to me what was going on.

Note: I rarely had any luck battling my anxious child. Simply fighting with her and putting her back to be constantly wasn’t helpful. Sure, sometimes she stayed, but she simply stared at the ceiling most of the night. In my estimation, this wasn’t really getting to the root of the problem and therefore was not helping her.

20 authors from the military and emergency services tell their story of PTSD. Order your copy of Lemonade Stand Vol. III

The devil and angel reference were perfect. Kids tend to be more visual, at least mine were, so this was easy for her to picture. Basically, I explained to her that the angel, the one always telling her what was true and was her authentic voice, and the devil, this was the voice of anxiety.

Based on this, we would work through what was making her worried or scared; the devil and what real voice was telling her, the angel.

The devil and the angel
Photo by Digital Buggu on Pexels.com

An example of how I put this into practice was her fear of our house burning down; A fear she developed after I ran through the fire escape plan with her and her brother. For her, this made the devil (anxiety) pop up out of nowhere. It would tell her that she was going to be trapped, “your dad is far away on the floor above” etc. The devil was successful for a time, building in her mind the story of her demise.

Now, There’s a trick to all this. In order for the angel to be the winner, I had to help guide her voice. That went something like this; I would tell her that because daddy was a firefighter, he knew that houses didn’t catch fire all that often in our community. I would also ask her if she could recall a time when she remembered hearing of a house fire? She couldn’t recall. And lastly, I would walk her through the fire safety plan, reinforcing that this plan would help keep her safe.

CHeck out some of my content from June 2020

This helped plant the seeds to help her, the angel, discredit the inner script of her anxious mind. It cultivated a rational argument and eventually, the devil would appear less and less, his pleas to have her believe his story, less impactful.

The post that started it all: The Road To Mental Wellness

The end result? She slept soundly and equally important, she was able to overcome her fear of her home catching fire. Even today, at thirteen, I still employ it. I think working with it over the years, applying it to her various anxiety driven fears, has given her a safe place to land and some skills to help her stand alone. I am very proud of the resilient person she’s become…. Love you kid.

We are the gentle guides in our children’s successful outcomes.

Jonathan Arenburg.

The Road To Mental Wellness – The Book.

Cover Reveal.

Good day all! I am excited to announce that I will be revealing The Road To Mental Wellness Book cover, probably in mid January. BUT…. if you subscribe to our newsletter, you will be one of the first to see it. Psst! I also hear a rumour that subscribers will get a first look at what lies beyond the cover. I will be sending a letter to our subscribers with the cover design sometime next week. So, if you are as excited as I, subscribe today so you don’t miss out on this exclusive sneak peek!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

OR

Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

Contact me on my Facebook page: The Road To Mental Wellness

How I help others
How I help others needs to be a benefit to both myself …
The sanctuary of earphones.
The sanctuary of earphones. If I didn't have my earbuds, I'd fall …
The need for neutrality
I have found that the need for neutrality when being online is …
The return to school, post-COVID
It may be the middle of summer, but perhaps it's time to …

3 comments

Please leave a comment and tell us what you liked about what you read.

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

Subscribe

* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd )

%d bloggers like this: