How Addressing Core Issues Can Help Reduce Your Child’s Anger and Anxiety

A mother recently shared about her daughter. It went along these lines.

 

My adult daughter is high functioning.
She was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

 

The other day, we went to a get together.
I think she was not able to converse properly, so she got angry.
We tried to ask her the reason, but she is not able to communicate when she is angry.

 

She is a very capable young woman, who shares an excellent rapport with her sister.

 

Her skill levels are very good.
When I was ill, she prepared my smoothie every morning.
She enjoys cooking and baking.

 

I think she feels left out of conversations.
This makes her angry. Her anger comes out unexpectedly, later.

 

Can you share more activities to help me?

 

I’d like to address this issue via an open letter.

 

Dear Concerned Mom,

 

Thank you for putting in such tremendous effort with your child.
I know you have worked hard to reach here.

I felt your immense care and concern during our conversation.

 

I’m going to offer a simple solution.
Co participate with your daughter.

 

I hear your question- ‘but my daughter is already independent, why should I enter an activity with her?’

 

Okay, let’s put this thought aside for a while as we visualize this scenario.

 

You and your daughter are making a Greek salad.

 

images

 

You read out the recipe, asking her to gather all the ingredients.
She gets them all. But the bottle of black olives in the refrigerator is empty.

 

You can sense her anxiety. She starts pacing and repeating the same sentence. ‘Now we can’t make the salad.’

 

You continue to stay calm.
‘Can we check elsewhere?’ You ask.

‘I think we do have another bottle somewhere else.’

 

She seems to calm down as she starts opening up a couple of drawers where groceries are stored.

 

She can’t find them. You know the new jar of black olives is not in the drawers. It’s in an overhead cupboard.

You glance her again. She is getting a little agitated, again.
She starts pacing up and down and seems to be on edge.

 

You go and stand close to the cupboard and say. ‘Have you checked here?’
Once again, she calms down and opens the cupboard.

She’s thrilled to spot the bottle of black olives.
She has a broad smile on her face.

 

Mission accomplished!

You both continue making the salad. She adds the ingredients. You mix them.
The salad looks delicious. All you need to add is the dressing.

 

Alas! There is another problem!
You forgot to buy the red wine vinegar which is an important ingredient in the dressing.

 

When you point it out to your daughter, she gets agitated again.
“Now how will we have this salad? ‘
Once again, you can see the ‘anger’ rising.
You need to think quickly, now.

 

So you say, ‘can you think of something sour, we can add instead of the vinegar?

 

She pauses to look at you. You are calm and collected.
You can see her calming down too.

 

You repeat. ‘Something sour… I wonder what we can use?’

And Bingo! She says, ‘lemons?’
You nod with a wide smile on your face.

 

You let her know that 2 lemons will be enough.
She brings them, chops them, juices them using the lemon squeezer.
You mix the dressing.

 

It turns out to be the most delicious salad you’ve made, together.

You give her a hug and compliment her on her ‘thinking skills’.

 

I hope you enjoyed this story.
I wanted to spotlight something deep, through this story.
It’s a beautiful process of Co – Regulation.

 

1. It’s not the doing, but the thinking

 

This young woman needs no help with skills. In fact, she does not need further skill training.

 

2. The guide helps the apprentice with regulating her emotions

 

When she interacts with another person, their guidance and state of calm, helps her regulate her emotions.

 

3. This helps build up a relationship of trust

 

This back and forth interaction and consequent emotional regulation, builds a relationship of trust between the guide and apprentice.

 

The image below elucidates:

 

Ek-8_BUUAI-lEi-1-e1606225429474

 

Dear Concerned Mom,

 

Can you see how you helped your child deal with her emotions?

 

Go back to the party scenario.
You didn’t know how to help your child in the moment.
But if you keep practicing this in the natural environment at home, you are training your child’s brain to regulate.

As you continue to co participate with your child, your child will become emotionally regulated.

Your child will be able to control his/her own anger issues.

 

 

download

 

My teacher, Dr Steve Gutstein says, “Co regulation is the simplest, but most potent intervention of all.”

 

I believe this with my life as my students and my own son, stand in testimony to this potent intervention.

 

Try it out. You have nothing to lose.
If you’d like to explore potent, teaching and guiding techniques, reach out to us at- saiconnections01@gmail.com

 

Kamini Lakhani

Kamini Lakhani is the founder and director of SAI Connections. She has been providing services in the field of autism for more than 25 years and is the authorized director of Professional Training for RDI in India and the Middle East. She is also the mother of a young adult with autism.

6 COMMENTS

  • Arshya Trehan says:

    This is so true.
    I have a tendency to get bored and leave working with my son Arjun very often . And I notice that when a few days have elapsed with me not doing things with him then his anxiety increases and we have meltdowns .
    Then as soon as I start back even with a simple co regulatory task he becomes my friend again !

  • Nirmaladevi says:

    The picture for co-regulation is simply beautiful !!!

  • Barnali Gupta says:

    Loved this story Ma’am. Learnt do much from you. Thank you .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>