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Moving your child through an anxious moment

Friends of mine recently came to our support group and were concerned about their son. We talked about the last few days' activites for their son and tried to pinpoint what had happened to cause his anxiety. What we realized will be of help to other families.
This child had been hurt in gym class, unintentionally, but came home from school mad. After he was hurt, another child poked his ribs and said to him “Oh, you aren't really hurt!” The child was so hurt that his gym teacher had to carry him to the nurse's station, his rib area bruised, and he had to use ice packs and wraps at home.
The comment and poke from his classmate rubbed against the adopted child's anxiety and caused his responses for the next few days to be out of character for him. When he got home, in this anxious state, he didn't want his mom to touch him anywhere and gravitated to isolation in his bedroom with a video game.
Through the next few days, the parents tried to engage him in other acitivites around the house. His response was still the same,isolation. On Saturday, the dad got the idea to go shopping with him for fishing poles and they went fishing the next two days.
This simple response to their son's anxiety worked so well that he cuddled with his mom on the couch that night as they watched TV together.
In their book, Parenting the Hurt Child, Greg Keck PhD and Regina Kupecky LCSW talk about anxious moments in adopted children. Because adopted children did not get secure attachments as infants they need to experience the attachment cycle with their adoptive parents. When adoptive children experience anxiety, due to past trauma, they need closeness and intimacy to help them move from these moments to a state of calm. Keck and Kupecky give examples of touch, smell, speech, motion, warmth, and eye contact that help with this process.
This family found that warmth in a relationship building exercise, fishing, helped to smoothe over this anxious moment.


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