The 4 Tried & True Parenting Strategies For Anxious Kids You Should Know

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How can parents help their child with anxiety before it snowballs into a bigger mental health issue?

According to research from the Child Mind Institute, parents wait an average of two years after the onset of their child’s anxiety symptoms to seek treatment.

Why is this so problematic? Well according to U.S. News, “Anxiety interferes with kids being able to go to school, do the best they can while there to learn, make and keep friends, love their families, and engage in activities they enjoy.”

So what are the signs? Some kids who suffer from an anxiety disorder might be too scared to participate in class - or go to school at all. Some may be too frightened or embarrassed to play a sport or engage in more artistic hobbies. Others will have an extreme fear of playdates and making friends. All of this can lead to a habit of avoidance which can be a gateway to isolation, substance abuse, and depression.

So what can YOU, as a parent, do?

  1. Avoid your urge to protect your child from feeling anxiety, and encourage your child to face their fears and go outside their comfort zone.
  2. Don’t shrug off your child’s anxiety - their feelings may come off as irrational, but you must support your child by taking those feelings seriously.
  3. Teach your child how to cope - arming them with the skills they can use in the moment will help them problem-solve while under stress. You can do this by modeling with them how to think through example problems.
  4. Don’t give in to temper tantrums, but don’t get angry, either. Tantrums are a sign of overwhelming distress in anxious kids, and they can also be a strategy to avoid something that really scares them. Provide comfort and calm instruction.

For more information on anxiety, watch our original series Understanding the Anxious Self with Dr. Ramani. I’m Kyle Kittleson, and remember, whatever you’re going through, you got this.

Source: U.S. News & World Report


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