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Children with Anxiety

By Aneesa Moidoo, Psychologist

Parenting a child who deals with anxiety can be tough and really sad. No parent likes seeing their child struggle with anxiety, but sometimes it’s hard to know what to do to help.

You want to make your child feel better and understand their worries, but you also don’t want to make things worse. Here are some important things you can learn to be better at helping your anxious child: A Really Important Skill for Parents of Anxious Kids is Knowing When Your Anxious Child Needs Support When anxiety takes hold of your child, it’s really hard for them to handle it alone.

But they can learn to manage their anxiety with your help. How you respond to your child’s anxiety matters a lot and can either make it better or worse. Learning what works and what doesn’t can make a big difference in helping your child feel better.

What Doesn’t Help When You’re Parenting an Anxious Child is when you want your child to relax and stop worrying, you might be tempted to minimize their fears, telling them to “just forget about it” or stop “seeking attention.” But when kids feel like you’re not taking their fears seriously, they can feel hurt and start to pull away from you, which isn’t good for your relationship. Some parents try to make their child’s anxiety disappear by giving in to it.

For instance, if a child is scared to go to school, parents might decide to homeschool them or use online schooling instead. But this just makes the fear stronger and teaches the child that avoiding things is the way to deal with anxiety.

Punishing your child for being anxious doesn’t help either. Instead of learning that facing their fears is better, they might just feel like they’re bad and wrong for feeling anxious.

Instead of these things that don’t work, try helpful strategies like being a good parent, especially to an anxious child.

It helps kids feel less anxious.

Talking well, behaving in helpful ways, and having the right perspective are the the game changers

Talking well means:

Explaining anxiety to your child and helping them recognize how it feels Listening to what makes them anxious without judging Thinking of what might happen if their fear came true and how they could handle it Telling them you believe they can handle their anxiety and reminding them of their strengths

Letting them know you understand how hard anxiety is for them Asking open-ended questions to understand their feelings better

Behaving in helpful ways includes being there for your child and making them feel safe, supported, and valued

Encouraging healthy habits like eating right, sleeping well, and staying active, which help fight anxiety Encouraging them to face their fears instead of avoiding them, even though it’s hard at first

Disciplining them based on their behavior, not on who they are as a person And having the right perspective means helping your child see anxiety in a different light, like realizing they can still move forward even if the problem isn’t completely gone

Teaching them that things don’t have to be perfect, and they don’t have to love situations they’re scared of

The goal of these skills isn’t to make all anxiety disappear right away.

It’s about facing anxiety head-on, doing things anyway, and learning how to deal with anxiety throughout life.

As you help your child face their anxiety and get through it, not only will their anxiety decrease, but their confidence will grow too.

Use these skills to help your child thrive, whether they’re feeling anxious or not. “Punishing your child for being anxious doesn’t help either. Instead of learning that facing their fears is better, they might just feel like they’re bad and wrong for feeling anxious.”

Children with Anxiety (The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Daily Tribune)