I recently talked about the impact of the pandemic on children's emotonality. Uncertainty may very easily stimulate anxiety. But just as uncertainty stimulates anxiety. certainty and safety stimulate relaxation and engage the parasympathetic nervous system. This nervous system is calming and it's effect has sometimes referred to as "The Relaxation Response. What can parents do to help children feel safe and trigger more calm and relaxation. Try to remember that we can not be relaxed and a anxious at the same time. As children deal with any disability it is important for parents to improve their ability to communicate effectively, and to model positive behavior and communication skills. When parents act impulsively or when they argue in the presence of a child this often creates uncertainty and anxiety in their child or children. It is extremely important for a couple to have conflict. It is important to have some level of tension in any relationship, however, having just the right amount of tension and having rules for communication are key components of a healthy relationship. When children witness adult conflict that is not structured or does not produce a resolution or positive outcome, it is likely to generate additional stress for your child. For the most part it is helpful to maintain what some psychologist call a "Generational Boundary", Generally children should not witness adult conflicts. There are times, however, when parents can have a conflict in the presence of their children as long as they are able to self-regulate and they are certain there will be a positive outcome. Impulsive behavior on the part of parents generally stimulates stress and anxiety in children. As uncertainty stimulates anxiety, empowerment stimulates a sense of certainty and control. Whatever you can do to help your child feel age appropriately empowered would be helpful. Remember that it needs to be "age appropriate", If their sense of power is not age appropriate then they are likely to feel additional stress, guilty, and anxious.
Childhood Anxiety in a Pandemic
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