Is Your Child Anxious, or Just Bratty?

Why anxiety and anger management?

As you all know from my website and every little sign off on my posts, I'm an anxiety and anger management specialist working with kids and teens in St. Louis.

The reason I say both anxiety and anger management is because rarely is a kid just angry. There's usually something else underneath it. And a lot of times, especially with young kids, anxiety and looks a lot like anger. Anxiety keeps them on edge, keeps them expecting certain things to happen, so certain triggers to their anxiety lead to frustrated or angry outbursts.

Anxious or bratty kids?

Back in September, I contributed to an article entitled "Is Your Child Anxious Or Just Bratty? Experts Explain How to Tell," found on Romper, exploring the differences underpinning these two behaviors. What contributes to your child's anxiety vs. what contributes to them acting "bratty?" 

Context clues:

So how do you tell the difference between your child being a brat and their child suffering from anxiety? You look at the context clues. What is the situation going on before their behavior started? Who else is around them before they started acting this way? How long does the behavior last?

As I explain in Caroline's article: Typically, I would expect children are choosing to be bratty to be able to switch it off once they get what they want. For a kid with anxiety and then maybe looks like brattiness, you would see this come up in the same types of situations over and over again, and it would be harder for them to come back to normal functioning. You might see them on edge in other situations as well, or just generally noticed that they have a hard time calming down. They may also have a hard time falling asleep, or dealing with school or transitions. 

Next steps:

If you're not sure if your child is just bratty or has anxiety, I always recommend the parents consult with a therapist specializing in childhood anxiety. A lot of times counselors to can get tripped up on the difference between anger, brattiness, and anxiety, so you want to make sure that you're seeking a specialist.

Curious to hear more? You can contact Kelsey at compassionatecounselingstl@gmail.com. Kelsey works with kids and teens from age 4 through college, specializing (there it is again!) in anxiety and anger management. She works with clients throughout the St. Louis area.