By: Donald Recupido
What can we do to help our children deal with anxiety?. Stress and anxiety are common emotional responses that we all experience. Sometimes, however, these experiences become very intense and occur more frequently than normal. Our children may become so anxious that they are unable to participate in ordinary activities. The symptoms may become so debilitating that they may even become depressed due to the profound impact of the symptoms on their lives. It may be that about 20% of children and adolescents are affected by some type of anxiety disorder.
These may include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Social Anxiety
- Separation Anxiety
Some common symptoms that children demonstrate may include:
- Sleep Difficulties
Children do not always talk openly regarding their experiences. At times they may be embarrassed regarding their feelings and even may feel that they are disappointing their parents if they let them know what they are experiencing. It is important that we continuously make an effort to develop a trusting environment so that our children will share with us their worries and concerns. Children’s anxiety is highly treatable and there are a variety of therapies which can be extremely helpful. The following are some things you can do to help your child who is experiencing anxiety, stress, or excessive worry.
- Develop improved parent/child communication.
- Frequently point out your child’s strengths and positive characteristics.
- Be mindful of your expectations related to your child and be sure your expectations are realistic.
- Communicate criticism tactfully.
- Compliment them five times more than you criticism them.
- Practice active listening daily and work toward developing more effective family communications.
- Take time to be involved in your child’s interest.
- Reduce parental conflict in the presence of children if necessary.
- Help your child develop age appropriate responsibility to help improve self-esteem and stimulate a positive sense of self appreciation.
- Help your child understand personal boundaries. This may include there need to be sensitive to others and as well as acknowledging their own personal rights and entitlement.
- Have an attitude of emotional acceptance and suspend judgment regarding their emotions.
- Help them learn to be accepting of their own emotions and desires.
- Help them understand the difference between experience and behavior.
- When necessary reduce emotional reactivity.
- Take care of yourself.