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10 Ways to Help Your Child With Their Anxiety
When it comes to anxiety it’s not an easy disorder to describe; there isn’t a set list of symptoms that someone suffers and it affects everyone differently.
For parents who have a child suffering from anxiety, it can be hard to watch your child suffer and hard for you to understand what they’re feeling. If you’ve never suffered from anxiety, here’s a scenario to give you some insight into how people may feel:
Imagine you can’t find your small child in a crowded shopping mall – now think about your emotional and physical reactions. Your pulse jumps, you sweat, and you experience tunnel vision. Your mind races and your adrenaline spikes throughout your blood stream triggering that fight or flight feeling. Now imagine those feelings happening all at once while you’re in a normal setting like sitting at your desk, in a car or at church. That’s a general idea of what anxiety can feel like, but of course, everyone experiences it in different ways.
Parents who have a child suffering from anxiety should take a look at this checklist on ways to help them:
1. Anxiety is just an overactive worrying brain
An anxiety attack can look scary. Remain calm and supportive. It will pass.
2. See a professional to learn coping tips for your child
Counting slow breaths can help reset a thinking brain. Seeing a professional can help give you and your child techniques to deal with an attack.
3. Do your homework
There are lots of books and articles on adult and childhood anxiety. If you do your research, you’ll more than likely gain a better understanding of what is happening and what to expect. Be careful not to give your child new things to fear.
4. Seek professional help sooner than later
Anxiety is treatable! There’s nothing to be ashamed of, and there’s no need for extended struggling.
5. Be strong
Don’t let your child withdraw too much, don’t let them always retreat to their “safe place,” which is usually at home or in their bedroom. Teach them that the safest place is wherever they want it to be. Get them out of the house, staying active and involved with other kids are important parts of the healing process.
6. Don’t forget your other kids
It will be confusing to them as well, teach them to be a part of the learning and healing process.
7. Work with your child’s school
There will more than likely be many requests to come home “sick”. Tell the school that calls home by your child should only be allowed in emergency situations. Work with their teacher to handle these situations without providing an escape route such as coming home, or else they will seek it every time.
8. If a doctor or therapist suggest medication, resist the urge to say no immediately
Think of the medication as a snow plow in the snowstorm going on in their brain, it will clear the path for brain activity. It won’t change their personality and it won’t make them a zombie. It’s also not a miracle or an overnight solution. It often takes a few weeks for it to show improvement, but it might be very beneficial!
9. Try to remain positive and calm
It can be frustrating, and you may even start to experience you own anxieties as well. Allow yourself the room to be human and seek help if you need it as well.
10. Know that the anxiety will pass
Throughout all of the stress and chaos, tell your child to say “all is well” in their head. All is well. If you say it enough, you’ll believe it.