Parenting Insight: 5 Tips for Effectively Helping Your Anxious Child
Struggling with anxiety is a challenge, to say the least.
Helping your anxious child to deal with this ailment can be even more challenging.
As a parent, it may be hard to know what is the right thing to do or say to support your children. Especially when they’re dealing with anxiety.
Plus, adults and children react differently to anxiety. So helping your anxious child can prove to be much different than helping an anxious partner or friend.
If you’re looking for ways to best help your child, consider these five tips.
Tip #1: Get to the Heart of It
Parents need to be in touch with their own emotions first. Moreover, it’s vital to understand the true intention of your goal. Ask yourself why are you doing what you’re doing. And take time to really be honest with yourself about the answer.
For instance, many parents find that they are parenting out of fear that the child will fail in some way. Whether it’s fail academically or not becoming successful as an adult—fear comes in many forms.
Another common goal that parents often face is to please others. It’s only natural that you want your children to be successful and that you want support from other parents as well, but there is more to parenting than this. The truth is, other parents may judge you and/or your child for how they outwardly respond to their internal anxiousness. Remember how other’s view you and/or your child is irrelevant to your cause. And further still, helping your anxious child is no one’s business but your own.
Tip #2: Avoid Heat of the Moment Parenting
Helping your anxious child will sometimes mean doing the opposite of what you feel. Parenting can test even the most well-balanced adults. At times, you may want to blow your top.
Parents need to manage their own emotions in the moment. Do your best to parent from a calm place, from your values. And avoid parenting from your own emotions.
Not only will this type of parenting require self-control, but it could also call for you to embrace your own calming skill-set like deep breathing.
Tip #3: Identify the Drivers
Just like you would search to see who was driving a speeding vehicle, seek to understand the drivers behind your child’s behavior. Helping your anxious child means wrapping your brain around the way they perceive the world.
Ask yourself what your child is reacting or responding to. What exactly are they struggling with? For instance, they could be struggling with lack of coping skills or problem-solving skills, mental health concerns, or medical issues. It could even be peer issues or learning disabilities that are the culprit.
Identify your child’s anxiety drivers will take some careful observation, but it will help you to help them in the long run.
Tip #4: Figure Out How the Puzzle Fits Together
Anxiety never just appears or remains a struggle on its own. Though it can seem like it pops up out of nowhere, anxiety is a dynamic between one’s environment and internal experience. It’s helpful to seek understanding to this dynamic if you want to foster a more comfortable situation for your child and how s/he experience his/her environmental factors.
For helping your anxious child, the trick is to figure out how everything fits together. What family dynamics are influencing your child’s behavior? Do you notice any patterns that may need adjusting?
Again, spotting patterns and habits will take some observing on your part, but it will strengthen your parenting skills nonetheless.
Tip #5: Be More Than the Boss
The parenting pendulum has swung far and wide when it comes to popular parenting styles. An even middle ground is usually the best approach. That means parents need to build a relationship with their child.
Rather than just being the authority figure, you have to truly know your child. Put forth the effort to understand what makes them tick. This doesn’t mean giving up any of your parenting authority, neither does it mean just being their friend.
Building a relationship with your child is maintaining a balance that makes helping your anxious child that much more effective.
If you’re needing support and guidance with helping your anxious child, please reach out to me. I’d love to be able to assist you as you help your family deal with anxiety.
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