Anxiety in kids
Updated: Nov 23, 2020
I had such an interesting chat to my kid yesterday, and it sparked lots of fear-full thought in this mother!
She spoke in length about her anxieties. What she feared and how intensely she feared it! My mother heart was struggling to get to an answer that would help, so instead, I just listened, really listened—trying to put myself in her shoes. Once in her shoes, I understood what she was on about - I remembered also being that scared. To make things worst, I still did not have an answer to give some comfort!
In the Pandemic, many of our children can develop even more anxieties. How do we, as parents, cope with this issue in a healthy way?
Psychologist Anne Marie Albano wrote the book: You and Your Anxious Child: Free Your Child from Fears and Worries and Create a Joyful Family Life.
So I went to knock on her door to hear what she says:
Our parent instinct is to protect at all cost. So we would swoop in and try to take away the cause of the anxiety. It is one of the worst feelings in the world to see your child in anguish.
But this is precisely where the problem and a real vicious cycle begin!
According to Anne Marie, the best thing you can do for your child is to hear them out, acknowledge their fear, but ... wait for it ...
let them face it!
Yes! You read it! Children need to face their fears, this is the only way they get to understand it and train themselves to cope with it.
There are many instances where, if the child faces the fear, they start to understand that it is an unrealistic fear and there is no need to fear it!
Or! They teach themselves self-soothing techniques, or the ability to calm oneself down when upset. They also start to learn problem-solving skills, including the ability to resolve conflicts with others; delay of gratification, or the ability to keep their efforts up (this so important in reaching and maintaining life goals).
These and many other skills are developing in children who take risks and engage. And self-efficacy takes shape, which, simply put, is the belief in oneself that you can overcome challenging situations.
These are very important when you need to cope in the world and paramount to become a healthy individual!
In short! Mom, Dad, sometimes you have to let go and let God!
Just think if you never let them try out to ride their bike? Or try out for a band?
You will be the one holding them back! Not their fear!
If you are interested to hear more about what Anne Marie Albano has to say, listen to her TED talk. https://www.ted.com/talks/anne_marie_albano_how_to_raise_kids_who_can_overcome_anxiety#t-892931
And off-course there are many, many times when yes! as a parent you need to intervene! And you will know when. But trust your gut and be balanced, and above all always listen with an open heart!