Help yourself by helping your anxious child

The best way to help your anxious child is to manage our own anxiety as well, because chances are that if you have an anxious child you might suffer from anxiety as well and even if you don’t, starting to arm yourself with the facts and creating a plan of action may offer you and your child some initial relief.

Anxiety mental health symbol isolated on white. Mental disorder icon design

Although the road that lies ahead is going to be bumpy here are some helpful hints that I have found to make a difference in my house.

Listen!
Make sure you take the time to listen to your child’s thoughts and feelings. Simply feeling heard can be very helpful to your child. Often even as adult having a sounding board that offers no advise but just listens to us makes us feel better and feeling better makes us feel less anxious.

Normalize! and Educate!
It is important to let your child know that he or she is not alone. Let your child know that anxiety is normal, harmless, and temporary. Become an expert on anxiety whether you suffer from it or not. Do your research, find different opinions to help you help your child. Find case studies and let your child know that at least 20% of kids suffer from anxiety during their childhood.

Model it!
Face your own fears, this will show your child that even if you are scared and anxious you faced your fear and survived. This can help to provide support and encouragement. Motivate your child through supportive coaching, be careful not to push your child too far too fast. Let your child work at his or her pace. I, for example, pushed Amandalynn to take part in drama at school to help her with her anxiety. It could have gone either way and blew up in my face, but she is loving it and the fact that she can express herself by acting is helping.

Tolerate!
Resist giving excessive reassurance, resist letting your child avoid challenges or situations that scares them or makes them anxious. Let them know they are not alone but let them face challenges alone. I know it’s hard to see your child feeling anxious or struggling, but by learning to cope with anxiety is a critical life skill to learn.

Personal life update
Amandalynn struggled in the first term and by looking at her marks I realised that her anxiety is getting the better of her. We have made the decision to put her on homeopathic anxiety medication to help her. I cannot yet say that I see a difference but I am hoping it would make a difference in her exams.

**Note: I am not a medical professional, but just a parent looking to understand my child better and searching for better methods to help her.

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