any children suffer from worry. They’re under a lot of social scrutiny at school, and kids can be cruel. They have little control over their lives. Most aspects of their lives are controlled by parents or teachers. Add in a little nightly news, and it should come as no surprise to an observant parent that their children are frequently anxious.
Some anxiety is healthy – our brains are designed to alert us to dangerous situations, and this function is just as important for children as for adults. It’s the amount of anxiety in proportion to the stressors in our kid’s lives that we need to help them regulate, until they gradually build up enough perspective to regulate their anxiety themselves. That’s how we foster resilience in our kids.
Here are some more strategies to help your child overcome their anxiety:
1. Take a look at your home life. Is your home life stressful for your child? Do you and your child’s other parent get along well, or is there a lot of arguing? Are there financial pressures in the household that the child is aware of?
2. Avoid avoidance. You might think you’re being protective if you help your child to avoid everything that causes them to feel anxious, but this actually contributes to the anxiety.
3. Get professional help. It’s very challenging for a parent to effectively help a child with moderate to severe anxiety issues. Sometimes professional help will be useful. Find a therapist or psychologist that specializes in children of your child’s age.
Let your child know that you're sensitive to their feelings and are always there to support them.
If your child is anxious, it can be heartbreaking to see them constantly worry. It can also be frustrating when their worries seem pointless to you. (Of course, as we mentioned last month, your child’s anxieties are as real to them as yours are to you.)
Be supportive. Be patient. And get professional help if your efforts prove to be insufficient.