After reading that book from my last blog post over the past couple of days and having written a review of it I figured it would be good to post some of the things I do to help my kid parts with anxiety. As of late, we’ve been terribly anxious, kid parts especially. It’s been a learning curve because we can’t remember a time we’ve been this stressed out. We have our physical health, trauma stuff, and outside stressors all piling up on our plate. The kids have been bearing a huge load despite us trying to take it for them.
Kids parts work differently than adult parts, they work more on emotions and have a harder time trusting people. My kid parts are also more sensitive both in their emotions and with the emotions of others. Kids are like sponges in that way.
The best thing is to be there for them, but that’s no the only thing you can do. That is the basic idea that we will be working off of though is being there for them (and each other). ‘Being there’ can mean just sitting beside them, or it can mean cuddling and comforting in other ways. You want to remember that a kid part will be able to sense it if you aren’t fully committed to helping them, or if you’re annoyed that you have to help them.
One thing we’ve found that works the best is having a sheet in our journal where each kid can earn stickers. With us they can trade the stickers in for a prize if the choose to. We haven’t quite worked out what a prize would be or how many stickers it would take to earn one but for now we’re leaving it up to the current fronting adults discretion. Prizes can be anything from a small piece of candy to a stuffed animal, it’s really up to your system what works.
The kids earn stickers from doing things like working through tough stuff and also helping out the adults. Working through tough stuff is the big one though! Tough stuff is things like body memories, any pain they might be holding, anxiety, or any other stresses.
You don’t want to think of the points has a challenge though where whoever earns the most stickers is the only one who gets a prize, that’s a mistake we made. It can lead the kids to start to open up their trauma boxes and try and sort through things in hopes of a prize.
Things like physical contact can work too. Especially for younger parts. That’s the great thing about having caretakers in your system or having families in our case, it gives kid parts a way to feel safe and get the necessary contact children need.
When we first started having the kids come out of dormancy in our system our therapist gave us one of the best practices that we’ve had so far. It works so well for our system that we do it automatically now! It’s called ‘loving eyes’ and all it is is making eye contact (or not and just looking at the other part) and putting all the love you possibly can into your gaze. Say you have blind parts, are blind yourself, or maybe you can’t see in Headworld there’s still something you can do.
We call it loving arms or loving feeling. It’s more something we came up with when we couldn’t do loving eyes with each other but a part was having a problem. All that is is putting the same amount of love you would with loving eyes and putting it into a feeling that you then give to the other part. Think of the warm fuzzies you get when you hug a stuffed animal, a pet, or when you curl up with a favorite blanket. That’s the feeling you want to send when you do loving arms.
These are just a few of the things I’ve found to be helpful. Tell me how they work if you try them out or if you have any questions.