How can you support your child struggling with anxiety?
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Adjusting as a family is essential if your child has been diagnosed with anxiety. While it may leave you feeling lost and like there is nothing you can do to help. Too often, children get left to process their feelings and emotions alone. Please continue reading to discover eight ways parents can support their child struggling with anxiety. Integrating these methods will not only help your struggling child but will also strengthen your family bond.
Help them distinguish between what’s real and what’s not real
When a child is anxious, their minds thrive on fear. Some children are hard-wired to worry about real-life based on what they see on television or in aggressive video games.
For parents, helping children distinguish between what is real and what is not is essential. If parents believe that the aggressive action in some video games will cause their demise, it is up to parents to help them distinguish between real life and video games.
Validate their feelings
Whether a parent has ever suffered from anxiety or not, it is vital to validate their child’s feelings. Therefore, ensuring that your child feels heard is crucial. For instance, if they tell you they are worried about a younger sibling swimming, validate what they are feeling. Tell them that water can be dangerous but reassure them that their sibling is a great swimmer.
Seek professional help
Unlike a physical illness, anxiety isn’t seen. That leaves parents to think that they can solve their child’s concern with some talking and coaxing. However, in most instances, anxiety needs to be treated by a therapist or psychiatrist.
Today, with the help of online psychiatry, more children are getting the help they need. According to Brightside.com, after a consultation, patients receive “FDA-approved medication and evidence-based therapy, guided by anxiety & depression experts every step of the way.
Become conscious of your parenting style
If yelling is how you express your displeasure, there is a chance that you are causing your child’s anxiety; when you realize that your actions are counter to your child’s anxiety issues and health, adjust your ways for your child.
Help them connect with their feelings
Connecting to what they are feeling is sometimes hard for children. They either aren’t sure about what they are feeling, cannot label what they are feeling, or cannot articulate it. However, helping children express their feelings is vital.
In this instance, instead of asking leading questions, let your child talk until they get done. By allowing them to talk it through, your child will be empowered and begin to identify their stressors. That will help them face their fears and healthily work through them.
Ask them what you can do to make them feel better
No parent wants to see their children sad and suffering. That makes it easier for a parent to take over and do the child’s hard tasks themselves. However, that is not helpful and doesn’t teach children how to face their fears.
Instead of avoiding stressful situations or doing something that you know makes your child anxious, there is something else that parents can do. They can ask their child what they, as the parent, can do to make the situation better. Asking what you can do to help is an excellent way for children to think logically and methodically and create a plan for their betterment.
Teach them breathing techniques
Anxiety often shows itself by creating a rapid heartbeat. There are techniques that parents can teach children that help them deal with stress and anxiety. For young children, bubble blowing with a wand is excellent for helping them learn to breathe through anxiety.
Offer to help with what they are feeling
In addition to wanting to be heard and validated, children suffering from anxiety often want to listen to an adult offer to help. In some instances, their fear may be caused by sensory overload.
Take note of the commonalities when your child has episodes of anxiety. Sometimes, asking what you can do to help with their feelings is as simple as giving them your undivided attention as they talk.
As you have read, having a child with anxiety is an adjustment for a family. Although parents may feel like there isn’t much they can do to help, eight strategies are listed above. These methods will not only help your child, but they will also strengthen your family bonds.