It can be extremely upsetting for parents when they realize that their child is experiencing symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks. Many questions come up for them and they can begin to feel anxious themselves. It is difficult to watch anyone that we love experience suffering. Is this genetic or is something happening in the environment which is causing this to happen to my child?. Is there something that I did to cause this to happen? How can I fix this? These are a only a few of the questions that parents might ask themselves. There is always a genetic predisposition for anxiety weather this be for a child or for an adult. Of course we mess up as parents, no one is perfect, and no one is a perfect parent. Let's suppose that you have messed up, well then, just join the club. Although some guilt may be helpful, shaming yourself is not going to help anything. It will not help you, and it will not help your child. Your energy will go into shaming and not in nurturing your child and providing them with care that they need. So if you are a parent that is highly self critical, here is an opportunity to begin to learn some self-compassion, and maybe to change some of your bad habits regarding self-criticism? What can we do now to help our child, and begin to move them in the direction of healing. The first thing that we can do is to start to take better care of ourselves. Hopefully you picked up on the idea of self-compassion, meaning that we learn to have empathy for ourselves and begin to release ourselves from the self-criticism that often debilitates us. This practice can improve our focus and help move us in the direction of having even more understanding and compassion for our child. This practice helps free us from anxiety and self-judgment so that we can be less anxious regarding our child's current challenge. Too often parents try to stop their child from feeling anxious in an attempt to reduce their own anxiety and relieve their child's suffering. This strategy is not only unhelpful but will greatly complicate matters. One of the first things we can do is to learn to be "present", and "non-judgmental", as we sit with our child so that they feel emotionally safe with us. In addition we want them to be able to share what is on their mind and not be worried about us or our anxiety..Your presence, empathy, and understand is likely to be the very first step to take in helping your child cope with their emotional challenge. Be careful with your attempts to fix the problem, it may be like putting a band aid on a wound that has not been cleaned or dressed. I will continue to post more on this topic. There is a lot to talk about. If you have any questions you are welcome to comment or post them.
Childhood Anxiety in a Pandemic (Part 2)
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