By Tenille Bentley
Unfortunately, feelings of anxiety and anxious feelings are very prevalent in children nowadays. In order to help your children effectively deal with these feelings, it is very important that you do not get anxious yourself in the process. Only when your own mental health is stable, can you help your child overcome their negative feelings. That is why you need to know how to deal with your child’s anxiety in a way that does not cause you to have anxious thoughts of yourself. In this article today, we will be giving you 4 tips to be able to do so.
1. Break it Down
When your child shares their reasons for feeling the way that they do, encourage them to take it one step at a time. Instead of looking at the entire scenario as a whole, break it down into separate steps and reasons that came to the conclusion of them feeling anxious. This will help greatly reduce the over looming feeling of being overwhelmed that causes high chances of you getting anxious yourself. Then, step-by-step, help your child to overcome the thoughts that are leading them to be anxiety stricken.
2. Let Them Lead the Conversation
Asking leading questions and making assumptions regarding the situation at hand leads to you having thoughts that might not necessarily be true. And these thoughts have a high chance of increasing your own anxiety. That is why when you talk to your child about their anxious feelings, let them lead the conversation. Make sure to not put any words in their mouth and only respond when they are looking for a response. This will be beneficial to both parties in such a situation. Then you can work towards a solution according to facts instead of assumptions.
3. Respect, Don’t Empower
What we mean by respect, don’t empower, is that when your child is explaining their anxious thoughts, you need to make sure they know you are acknowledging whatever they’re saying. However, you also need to make sure that in this process you do not aggravate their feelings. Balanced and positive parenting solutions are those that make your children feel seen without making the situation at hand into an unnecessarily big deal. Listen to their feelings and let them know that they are justified, but do not let them make it an overtly big deal for the way they feel. This way you will be able to avoid getting overwhelmed yourself as well.
4. Manage Your Own Expectations
Always remember that anxiety is not something that can be completely eliminated from one’s life if present. However, it can be dealt with effectively and managed appropriately. So, be sure to have this in mind when you go over to your child in hopes to help them deal with their anxiety. When your expectations are managed, even a little win will give you feelings of contentment and reduce the chances of you getting anxious yourself as well. Additionally, it will also help your child feel better faster, with fewer chances of backtracking on their journey. Online parenting courses always reinforce the need to manage expectations in such scenarios as well.
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Tenille Bentley is the founder of The Emotional Literacy and Mindfulness Academy For Kids and the author of the children’s emotional literacy series. The Emotional Literacy Academy provides at-home programs to help nurture and develop children’s emotional literacy, building confident and calm children with empathy, compassion and the tools to feel safe with their emotions. You can connect with them on Facebook and Instagram.