If your child suffers from anxiety, you understand how challenging it can be to guide them through these difficult emotions. Watching your child deal with these debilitating feelings is hard for any parent. The good news is that there are things that you can do to help guide your child through their anxiety while equipping them to deal with these feelings in the future. Here are five actions that parents can take to help kids that are suffering from anxiety.
Although no parent purposely makes their child feel anxious, it is important to understand that some parenting styles are more likely to lead to these feelings in children. For instance, authoritarian and permissive parenting styles have been shown to potentially increase levels of depression and anxiety in children.
Your child’s anxiety may also increase if you expect too much of them. While it is always good to hold kids to a high standard, you do not want to leave them paralyzed with fear that they will not succeed. This will only exacerbate these feelings of anxiety.
Sometimes it is the simple presence of a loved one that will help a child feel better when confronting anxiety. In the moment of an acute anxiety attack, you can help your child by offering to sit with them and help them through this attack. This will send the message that they are not alone.
As you sit with your child, be sure to teach them how to breathe deeply. Start by slowly counting to five as you breathe in. Follow this by slowly counting to five as you breathe out. You can also start with shorter two counts if you feel as if this is too long for your child. This will teach your child how to relax their body and clear their mind.
There are a number of resources available to parents who want to lean on professionals for help in navigating this road. Gozen is a dedicated video series designed for parents looking for assistance in helping kids with anxiety.
This innovative online program is targeted at kids between the ages of 6 and 15 as well as their parents and teachers. The videos teach kids the necessary skills to handle stress and anxiety. Kids can lean on this program to learn how to be mindful while also boosting their emotional intelligence. Parents will love how the videos teach kids the power of resiliency.
While it may be tempting to avoid the events and situations that cause anxiety in your child, it is not recommended to go out of your way to avoid these triggers. The goal should not be to remove the triggers of anxiety. Instead, you should focus on teaching your child how to manage their anxiety so that it does not control their life.
If parents remove their children from situations that induce anxiety, this will only serve to reinforce this feeling over time. You are better off teaching your child to confront these difficult situations and learn how to manage their feelings. The last thing that you want is to reinforce that avoiding hard events is an acceptable coping mechanism for anxiety.
Children typically look to their parents when reacting to new situations. This means that one of the best things that you can do for a child who suffers from anxiety is to model healthy ways to deal with these feelings.
Kids are extremely perceptive, taking in how the adults in their lives react to certain situations. For example, if your child hears you struggling with anxiety, they are more likely to normalize these feelings. Rather than hiding the fact that you also face similar emotions, show them how to manage the difficulties calmly and intentionally. Whether that be through deep breathing, meditation, or tackling the difficulty head-on, children need to see that there are multiple coping strategies available to them.
Taking these five steps will help you to show your child that there is a way out of their anxiety. Being there for your child as they tackle these emotions is one of the best ways to show how much you care.