How To Help A Child With Anxiety
Having a child who is struggling with feeling anxious can be overwhelming in itself and scary. The first thing to know is, that nothing is broken, permanent or lasting, and anxiety can change quite quickly, it is not a sign of their character being flawed, or a signal they will have a lifetime of anxiety, it is simply an experience they are going through.
It can vary from an event at school, exams, relationships with friends depending what age they are and what challenges they are currently navigating in life.Your calming presence, and attentive listening will be the most impacting way of helping your child overcome their fears, and of course that means that you have to be able to be calm, and present. This can often require you getting some help yourself first to see how it affects you. Getting your own help in understanding anxiety will help you stay grounded, it is not unusual for parents to be anxious about their children being anxious. Which creates a perpetual cycle of anxiety going, making it worse.
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How To Help A Child With Anxiety Attacks?
If your child is having an anxiety attack, it is best to remain calm. We operate at our best, with intuitive understanding of what to do in the moment when we are present, rather than worked out and panicking where our own thinking can become a block to seeing clearly. When you are calm, it will help your child relax, keep talking to them, help them to breathe deeply and stay with them, keep checking on their grounding, and be reassuring. It will subside.
How To Deal With Anxiety In Children?
If you really are at your wits end and want to get external help, then it is worth considering what type of person you are asking. The GP seems like the first logical option but they often send you down the medical route or psychiatric route, giving a diagnosis and medication so for persistent anxiety, it is not the best route to take. They may offer you private talking therapies, like counselling or psychotherapy, but this often takes time, and may be some help, but is not the best solution.
It would be helpful to find someone who you can connect with, and is experienced working with children, who has an understanding of anxiety from the inside out. Anxiety is not created by circumstances even though it looks that way to most people, including children. Helping children to feel calm and see the creation of the thoughts that make you feel anxious on the inside is the optimum solution.
Relieving the pressure that there is not something inherently wrong with your child, and that it will pass, and starting to understand that scary feelings are created by scary thoughts is helpful to get your child more grounded in the present moment. This can be an ongoing conversation.
How to help a child with anxiety about school
School can be a difficult time for children where life feels overwhelming, it’s not unusual that children start to get anxious about things they are uncertain about. If it’s a simple reassurance your child needs, you can do this quite easily, but if the anxiety is ongoing, then read on.
What’s important to know is that the habit is worrying, and not the content of the worry. Digging into the circumstances and trying to find a way to make them perfect, will only confirm the problem is really about school and only a change in circumstances will fix the issue.
The solution is in seeing how the mind works, how we create our anxiety with our thoughts, when we have scary thoughts about school, then school looks scary and we get worried.
Habitual worrying about a certain thing always looks like the focal point, but there is something way beyond that to consider, our thinking creates scary scenarios up that we feel in the moment, before or regardless of if they even happen.
How To Help A Child With Anxiety And Anger?
It’s not uncommon for a child to get angry in order to avoid situations, or to help them deal with their anxiety. It is worth knowing that this is just how they are coping with something they are struggling with. The anger is the symptom not the problem. When you can see beyond the outward manifestation of the coping mechanism that they are using, it is much easier to feel compassion for their struggles.
Take a moment yourself, if you are triggered because of their behaviour, it can be a good idea just to sit quietly until you calm down and feel present, you’ll always instinctively know what to do in the moment when you are present.
How To Help A Child With Social Anxiety?
Social situations can look like they hold a lot of pressure for children, anxiety about social pressures is created in the same way as any other anxiety, by the thoughts about the situations and not by the situations themselves. No matter what you throw at it, it will only give temporary relief if it is to deal with anxiety or peer pressure. You can see this as a great opportunity to help your child understand how we create the feeling of pressure, by thinking about events in a certain way.
How To Help A Child With Anxiety Disorder?
If you have gone down the medical or psychiatric assessment route and still struggling, coaching maybe a great way of getting to the root of the problem. Once something is diagnosed as a disorder, often the symptom is treated not the cause. Seeing beyond diagnosis and causation will yield much better results for long term, permanent lasting change, through insight.
Everything Will Be Ok
It can feel overwhelming when your child is struggling, and it can be the biggest challenge we face as parents, understanding and helping our children, simply because we desperately want them to have a good life, and not to suffer. When you know everything will be ok, they are not broken, and you are not a bad parent, then you are starting off on good footing, to get them the help they need.
How To Help A Child With Anxiety FAQs
The above article should help you understand if your child is struggling with anxiety, it’s not always so obvious, you might notice things starting to change, your child avoiding school or situations, or friend groups, or wanting to spend more time isolating, trust your instincts, you will know.
Reassurance in the moment of a scary event or situation is always good, and being the voice of reason. It always helps being present, and listening attentively, acknowledging that it can feel scary. Even though anxiety is made of thought, it is still a real experience of the body.
Scary thinking creates scary feelings, in all people, that’s just how it works for everyone. Many people are under the innocent misunderstanding that it is created by outside forces, but it just doesn’t work that way, all circumstances are neutral, its what we make of them that gives them the power.
It is easy to fall into parental guilt, as if you have done something wrong and or could have avoided your child’s struggles, but anxiety is a normal part of being human, just finding ways to cope with it and being present, non-judgemental with your own thinking.