If you are struggling to help your anxious child, and possibly managing your own anxiety as well, starting to arm yourself with the facts and creating a plan of action may offer you some initial relief. Although the road that lies ahead may be bumpy, the following section will allow you to gain a better understanding of the facts about anxiety. The list (located below) includes links to information on excessive reassurance seeking and avoidance, the fight-flight-freeze response and panic attacks, how to determine when anxiety is a problem, as well as how to talk to your child about all of these important topics.
Make sure you take the time to listen to your child's thoughts and feelings. Simply feeling heard can be very helpful to your child.
It is important to let your child know that he or she is not alone. Lots of children have problems with anxiety, with upwards of 20% of children being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder during their lifetime.
Let your child know that anxiety is normal, harmless, and temporary. Become an expert on anxiety.
Model facing fears by doing some of the feared challenges yourself, or even tackling your own fears. This can help to provide support and encouragement. Motivate your child through supportive coaching. However, be careful not to push your child too far too fast. Let your child work at his or her pace.
Resist giving excessive reassurance, or letting your child avoid challenges or escape scary situations. While it’s hard to see your child feeling anxious, learning to cope with anxiety is a critical life skill.
About the author
Anxiety Canada promotes awareness of anxiety disorders and increases access to proven resources. Visit www.anxietycanada.com.