Parents dealing with Children’s anxiety

Watching a child struggling with anxiety can be very difficult for parents. Anxiety may begin to color their perception of their child and convince them that he can’t do things that he really can. Many parents find it helpful to keep track of the child’s accomplishments and abilities so that they don’t begin thinking of their child as anxious and fearful. Instead they can recognize what abilities their child has that might be useful in dealing with anxiety.

It is particularly helpful for parents to find out how the anxiety is frightening their child so that they can help develop counter-tactics. Here are some examples of how some parents helped when anxiety threatened sleep:

  • When Maureen discovered that anxiety flooded 5-year-old Erica with worries that kept her from sleeping, she gave Erica a set of Mexican worry dolls and suggested that Erica tell each doll a problem at bedtime so that the dolls could solve them while she slept
  • When 11-year-old Lisa told Ron and Elaine that fear of “something happening” kept her awake at overnights, they suggested that, in her imagination, she station each of her parents at the foot of her bed. This way they could guard her through the night.

It is also helpful for parents to keep track of times when their child is in charge of his life and the anxiety does not veer him off course. They can remind the child of those times and even celebrate these successes together to give him hope.

Questions for Parents

  • Can you identify the tricks anxiety is using against your child? What are counter-tactics that would be appropriate for his age and interests?
  • What does your child do that is helpful when anxiety is becoming present? Can you help create more contexts where this could happen or find ways to help him notice these times?
  • If you believe that your child is experiencing pressure, can you speak to her about being satisfied with her accomplishments, without letting perfectionism, competition, or stress take over?
  • Are there ways that your family can focus more on fun and less on performance?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *