How To Help Your Child With Anxiety
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). There 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.
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 complimenting them on a daily basis. Focusing on their positive behaviors and gestures. Recognizing positive improvements or even positive acts that they attempt to do.
2. 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.
- 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?”
3. 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.
4. 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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