As parents, it's natural to talk openly about our anxieties and how juggling responsibilities can keep us awake at night. However, when it comes to our children's anxieties, it can be difficult to know how to respond. Anxiety in children can take many forms but usually presents as separation anxiety, social anxiety, phobias, or general anxiety.
When faced with a child experiencing persistent anxiety, here are a few expert tips to keep in mind:
- Acknowledge that your child’s anxiety is real. Validate their feelings, empathize, and acknowledge the difficulty they may be feeling.
- Express your belief in their ability to handle the situation. Encourage them, instead of helping them avoid the situation.
- Recognize the difference between normal fears and problematic anxiety. Some anxiety is normal and will usually go away within a week or two, but excessive anxiety should be addressed.
- Engage them in problem-solving. Let your child come up with solutions to their anxiety and offer support by expressing approval of their chosen plan.
- Help them take one step at a time. Break down their fears and anxiety into manageable steps and encourage them to face each hurdle as they approach it.
- Don’t help your child avoid their triggers. Avoidance may only make their anxiety worse and prevent them from learning valuable coping skills.
- Reach out for professional help if needed. Know your limits and seek help from mental health professionals when necessary, particularly if anxiety is interfering with their day-to-day life.
Remember that it's essential not to minimize or trivialize a child's anxiety and support them as they face their fears. This support will help them develop essential coping and problem-solving skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.
Read full article (Huff Post)