When your child is experiencing anxiety, stress, or depression, it can be extremely difficult for you as a parent. Many parents are surprised in finding out just how young children can begin experiencing bouts of anxiety. Knowing how to address your child’s mental stress and pain can seem foreign, and of course, as a parent, all you want to do is help. Although it can be tolling, trying to understand your child’s mental health is of utmost importance, as well as knowing how you should address it. While you cannot shield your child from experiencing anxiety, you can take steps to help them learn how to manage it.
#1 Keep Calm
It is important to not display anxiousness and worry yourself when your child is feeling bouts of anxiety or stress. This will only encourage and increase the negative and scary thoughts your child is feeling. Children learn how to behave and how to react from observing how their parents behave and react. Make sure to always do your best to set a good example in front of your child in terms of reacting to certain situations as they will learn to cope partly from watching how you cope.
#2 Don’t disregard your child’s fears
Telling your child to simply not worry or that their fears are irrational hasn’t been proven to be successful in helping children cope with anxiety. Rather let your child worry a bit, however, treat them with empathy and understanding.
#3 Don’t try and protect your child from every trigger
Experiencing worry is a part of your child’s brain and personality’s forming. In fact, it is important for them to learn to cope with certain stressors. While it is okay to avoid extreme triggers, don’t simply shelter your child from every situation that appears a bit stressful. Keeping your child away from their fears will validate their feelings of anxiety and in turn, make the problem worse. Instead of hiding your child away, take small steps with your child to help them face their fears.
#4 Talk it out
Talk it out with your child, try and get to the bottom of understanding why certain triggers give your child anxiety. Give your child the opportunity to vent and communicate their anxiety to you. Break down the situation that is causing anxiety for your child and try and get to the root of why that is. Help them understand the reality of their anxiety and recreate the situation in a more positive light. While communication is so important for your child, the best option may be to consider introducing them to a child therapist in Carrollton.
#5 Teach them the proper coping mechanisms
There are certain coping mechanisms that your child should learn to help them self-cope in life. Talk to your child and explain to them that there are certain things that they can do to help the “bad feelings” go away. Teach your child reframing, taking an anxious thought and breaking it down to identify whether or not this worry is necessary or appropriate, as well as taking a thought of anxiety and changing it to a positive thought. Write down a list of actions your child can take to help them cope when they are feeling anxious. Your list may include the following coping healthy mechanisms:
- Take 10 deep breaths
- Use a stress ball
- Write it out
- Reframe your thoughts
- Talk about your worries and take control of your thoughts
- Ask an adult for help
Helping your child to deal with their anxiety can be overwhelming, which is why so many parents are turning to kid’s therapy in Carrollton. A child-anxiety professional will help you and your child get to the bottom of their stressors and learn to properly cope. Here at Lifeworks, we have a trusted and caring team that can help. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today.