There is a Sufi story about a man who found his friend searching for his house keys under a street light. After helping him look for awhile he asked, "are you sure you lost them here?" "no", his friend replied "I dropped them across the street in the tall grass.". "Than why are you searching over here?" He asked. "Because this is where the light is best."
This illustrates the point that we sometimes look for answers where it is easiest, not where they are most likely to be found. I find this apt because when it comes to helping our children with stress, friendships, and resiliency, we often go to the easiest place which is words and language to try to figure out what is going on in their minds.
My experience is that many of our emotions, and particularly the challenging ones are held in the body almost like muscle memory. This is why we "do" social interaction instead of talking about it in group, and it can point to an intervention that is so simple it almost seems silly. Next time your child has dug his or her heels in and seems insistent on going down the path towards a negative behavior, try helping them break out of old patterns by encouraging some movement. I suggest stretching, jumping jacks, silly faces, or breathing. Try it yourself too! It's amazing that even the act of smiling releases hormones that signal the brain to relax.