How to Help Your Child if he/she Has Anxiety?
Even the most well-meaning parenting effort can get trapped into a negative cycle of empowering the fears of a child struggling with anxiety. By trying to protect a child from their fears, a parent may be doing the opposite of what’s needed.
At DPSG School in Faridabad, we have been working with kids for decades. It has enabled us to share some valuable insights on how you can help your child deal with anxiety in a positive way.
- For starters, to eliminate anxiety, you should help your child in managing it. We understand that no parent wants to see their child unhappy, but the best way forward in this case is to help the child develop a tolerance to anxiety first. In time, they will stop fearing it altogether.
- To make sure that the first step is a success, you will have to stop avoiding things just because they make your kid anxious. When you fuss about things too much, the inner fears of your child are stoked further, instead of receding.
- Always be positive and optimistic, but do not ignore the realities. Do not make promises that you know may not work out for your kid, such as telling them that their fears of a test are unrealistic and they should not worry. Instead, express confidence that they will learn from the experiences and come out stronger. And that you will be there to applaud them or help them, whatever the outcome.
- Never ask leading questions about things that make your kid anxious. While your intentions may be well-meaning, it may have the child worrying about problems they hadn’t even thought off yet, scaring them even more.
- Also, do not reinforce the fears as well. Don’t tell your child that everyone is a little scared of things that they fear. It will send a message that their worry is not without cause.
- Be appreciative of the efforts your child makes to tolerate their anxiety. It will encourage them to try new things for managing and overcoming their fears.
- If you are going to do something that makes your kid anxious, always try to keep the anticipatory period short. For example, if a child is scared from a doctor’s appointment, don’t launch into discussions hours before the visit to try to calm them (as that’s what parents think they are doing). It will only worsen their mental health.
- Prepare your children with comforting talks for scenarios that play to their fears. It will ensure that the kid has backup scenario in their mind that they can rely upon. For example, if you are not able to pick him or her up after school, prepare them for the situation by talking about it occasionally, telling them what to do when it happens or who might be picking them up instead and why they should trust them.
Every kid with anxiety needs his or her own special care. Parents should speak to childcare providers, teachers and specialist to understand the issues before taking steps to deal with a child’s anxiety. For it’s crucial that a child’s fears are not empowered but managed and taken away.