Give Children the Gift of Success
and Freedom From Stress
Each new school year brings opportunities for growth and learning, but these new experiences can also present challenges. Children are encountering new classes and teachers, schedule changes and friendship shifts. If not addressed, they can lead to unhealthy stress and anxiety; hindering their process of adjusting and adapting.
Funda Kahn is the founder of Inner Child Connection, Ltd., in Northbrook, and says much of our stress is stuck in the body as blocked energy. “When we tap into our subconscious mind, we are able to free ourselves from hidden beliefs and trauma manifesting in unhealthy emotional and physical symptoms and holding us back from thriving,” she explains.
Children often have a difficult time identifying stress, and it can manifest with different symptoms than in adults. “Children don’t necessarily have the emotional vocabulary to express what they are feeling. Stress often presents with them either acting out or shutting down and hiding their emotions. They will also regress and exhibit behaviors of a younger child, and have physical symptoms like loss of appetite, sweating or a racing heartbeat. Nightmares are also common because that’s when the body is at rest and the subconscious takes over,” says Kahn.
One of the most constructive methods she uses is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also called tapping. “EFT is an effective self-help tool to reduce stress and anxiety, release unresolved emotional issues and free the physical and emotional blocks of trauma that can hold us back,” Kahn explains. This energy psychology technique involves the client or practitioner gently stimulating trigger points on the body to release negative energy trapped in the meridians.
She finds that children are especially responsive to the technique. Because their consciousness isn’t fully developed, they are often much more open to new healing modalities. “Kids get excited to learn a new method, and I teach them to practice it on themselves. This is empowering and allows them to take responsibility for their own well-being,” says Kahn.
Messages in our subconscious get stored after any negative or positive experience and children absorb them from family, friends, teachers and coaches. “If a child sees their mom is sad or angry, they may feel they are responsible and haven’t been ‘good’ enough. This can lead to feelings of unworthiness and self-doubt. If their friend sits next to someone else at lunch, they might feel like something is wrong with them. This gets set into their belief system, and I see a number of children who try to be people-pleasers in order to validate their own self-worth. EFT facilitates the release of these messages and clears out old traumas so they can welcome new challenges in a healthy, productive way,” Kahn explains.
Kahn strongly encourages parents to lead by example and be mindful that their words and behaviors have power. “Children need to hear validating messages on a daily basis. Simple expressions such as, ‘You are loved, you are enough,’ go a long way. They need to be around positive attitude and positive words, but also understand whatever they are feeling is okay and the parent should not judge that. They can feel sadness, and yet unconditionally love themselves,” says Kahn.
Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. Connect at CarrieJacksonWrites.com.