West Berkshire Family Life

exploring our emotions - why do we get anxious, angry or afraid?

I’m Caz, I have two young daughters and I live in Newbury. I’m an emotional coach for children, teenagers and adults, helping clients with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, problems at school etc. I’ve also written a book on happiness, kindness and calmness and I teach baby massage classes to new parents. I have a scientific background so love the research and evidence behind feelings, thoughts and behaviour (read my blog on the behaviour here). I find it’s important for children (as well as adults!) to know that we need all our emotions. They’re all fine to have and are part of us, but they shouldn’t define us. We can learn to control them in a way that suits us and in doing so we can manage our thoughts and behaviour.

I read a lovely quote saying, “Parenting means finding the balance between loving our children, disciplining them and allowing them the confusion and suffering that’s needed for their own self-discovery.” This is tough, plus the balance is different for each child and can change for every child within the cycle of a day. We all want to give as much love, trust, patience, guidance and respect as we can. However, as parents we’re also allowed to have feelings and we’re not always going to be understanding, positive and calm.

We all have an innate need for love and control. Children, teenagers and adults alike, we all want to feel secure, respected, wanted, connected to others, that we belong, that we matter and that we can make our own decisions. If these needs aren’t met, we experience a void and try to fill this in some way. In children we see attention seeking behaviour. Even if it’s negative attention that they gain, it’s better than no attention so they continue. We may also see power struggles if it’s a lack of control that they feel. In teenagers and adults, feeling out of control drives us to unwanted feelings and therefore behaviour. For example, addiction is strongly associated with lack of human connection.

Working with children, teenagers and adults have different approaches of course, but the basics are the same. As well as these innate needs for love and control, we all have emotions – some we enjoy, some we don’t. It’s when an unwanted feeling becomes too big or dominant that it is an issue.

It can be fascinating for children to hear explanations of feelings in evolutionary terms, why we get anxious, angry or afraid and why these feelings are trying to help us. As sometimes we probably wonder why on earth we feel so worried or scared, they’re horrible feelings that we wish would go away!

Anxiety often occurs when our minds are planning for every situation that may come up. Our brains are solving problems in advance, in case they happen so we’re prepared and ready. When we were cavemen hunting big animals, we needed anxiety to prepare us in case we came across a ferocious bear. If we didn’t feel anxious, or plan, then we’d have been eaten!

Anger isn’t always a bad thing and there are reasons we have it. It can show passion, spark motivation and it can mean standing up for yourself or someone else, so showing protection and expression. Thousands of years ago, people who didn’t stand up for themselves or show passion may have not survived battles.

Fear stops us from being harmed in order to survive. Many fears are learned from our parents as we imitate them from early childhood. Throughout human history, we’ve been afraid of dangers like snakes or heights in order to protect ourselves. If people didn’t feel fear, they may have picked up a poisonous snake or fallen off a cliff!

If you or your child are struggling with emotions, feel free to have a look at my website: www.happykindcalm.co.uk or contact me: cazncampbell@gmail.com.





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