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How to parent a child with anxiety | Things every parent should try

Anxiety symptoms are very common among children and teenagers. From the day your child enters school up until high school (and for some even through college). Their are so many challenges that lead to anxiety symptoms:

  • Making friends.
  • Peer pressure.
  • Educational expectations.
  • Parent expectations.
  • Personal goals and aspirations.
  • Daily interaction with other students.

Click here to Have your child take an anxiety quiz

A study from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) showed that 1 in 8 children suffer from anxiety.

Ways to support your child with anxiety

Focus on the “POSITIVES”

Anxiety is often associated with “negative racing thoughts or self-criticism“. For instance, ” I am going to fail this test and get an F” or “no one likes me because I’m not athletic“.

As a parent, you should be aware that your anxious child may be experiencing these thoughts and symptoms. Provide your child with supportive notions by complementing them on a daily basis. Focusing on their positive behaviors and gestures. Recognizing positive improvements or even positive acts that they attempt to do.

Encourage Expression

Motivate and support your child to verbalize their feelings in a healthy and safe manner. Encourage your child to talk about:

  • Personal negative thoughts.
  • Self-defeating thoughts.
  • Self-criticism.
  • Problems at school.
  • Feeling comfortable communicating with you.

A great place to start is by asking “how was school today?”. If your child responds “fine“. Follow up with more detail in an open ended question format. “fine, that sounds great, so why was it a fine day?”

Work through problems together

If your child is going through challenges at school. Maybe they are dealing with peer pressure or struggling to make friends due to self-criticism. Communicate with them in order to build an understanding of what is going on. Role play through potential scenarios. Offer your recommendations. Offer external support: counseling or school mentors. Ask questions. Overall, let your child know that you are available.

Be willing to seek help

If you feel that you are not able to support your child know that asking for help is a true form of support. You are supporting your child by seeking outside support. Counseling can provide your child with education and guidance on their anxiety while also supporting you, the parent, in learning strategies that you can implement at home. These strategies will allow you to help your child manage their anxiety.

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