How to help your anxious child

Anxiety is a normal part of childhood, and every child goes through phases. An anxiety phase is temporary and usually harmless however, children who suffer from an anxiety disorder experience fear, nervousness, and shyness, and start to avoid places and activities. When a person, child or adult, feels anxiety their brain goes into fear mode, and their rationale (frontal cortex) switches off. This fear can be triggered by many factors; and when it comes to children’s fears in particular, it is highly possible that they will be completely irrational.

In my previous post: ‘The over-anxious parent ~ overcome it!’, we looked at how anxiety affects parents; what they can do to overcome it so as to avoid passing on its negative effects onto their children. Children, just like parents can experience anxiety. How can you, as a parent, help?

Read on to find out how you can help your child with their anxiety. 

How to help your anxious child

We know that anxious parents may pass their own anxiety onto their children but, when an over-anxious parent tries to cope with an anxious child, chances are they might be too coddling. This happens because these parents can relate to their child’s fears and fully understand the need  to comfort and reassure him/her.  Yes, that is important that you reassure your child but no, you need not – and in fact must not – let fear take the upper hand. Just because your child is hiding under the covers, stating that school is too hard and they can’t handle it does not mean they shouldn’t go. When the brain is experiencing a false alarm and overestimating the likelihood of danger, we need to teach the brain that it is actually o.k and not facing a true threat. It is important that you, as a parent, help train your child’s mind.

This can easily be done by helping your child confront and face their fears. Speak to your child, make them get to grip that there are just some things that we have to face. In the above example, going to school is one of them. Helping them face the situation and equipping them with strength, courage, and a rationale will help them face problems and fears when they are older. And it goes without saying that those future problems will not just be as simple as not going to school…unless they become a teacher. 🙂

On the other hand, a parents who is rarely anxious themselves, may have a hard time relating to their anxious child, who may be overacting over a minor thing. It is important that you stay calm and balanced. Shouting at your child because they have a fear, making them feel that they are not capable of dealing with a situation or even just dismissing it completely is not a solution. Talk to your child about it and stay firm when it comes to explaining. Be strong, persistent and tackle similar situations in the same way. Listen to their fears, acknowledge them but explain the reason why they must face them. Then comes the hard part, sticking to your rationale and following through with it.

Empower your child with strength, confidence and the ability to rationalise, at an early age.  

Leave a comment and let me know if this post was helpful…

Till next time…

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Photo on featured image downloaded from the internet.

 

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