Dealing with Anxiety Among Kids
Monday, July 17, 2017
As a parent of a child, who is going to attend one of the best international schools in Manila, you are bound to get excited about the many possibilities and opportunities that could be available to your child. In this kind of environment, he/she will be able to meet many faces, including his/her teachers and classmates. For sure, the new school year will also bring in new and exciting things that you and your child could look forward to.
Despite all of this, it is unavoidable for your child to feel anxious and worried about what lies ahead. This is why it is important to remember that there will be times when kids will ask themselves questions like: “Will I be able to do it?”, “What if I do it wrong?”, or “What if I don’t succeed?”
If this happens to your child, keep in mind that there are ways for you to help him/her deal with the anxiety; just take note of the following:
What is your child worrying about?
One of the first things you have to know in order to help your child is the things that trigger his/her anxiety. You can usually find them out through your day-to-day observations or by simply asking your child about them. You can casually talk to him/her and inquire about how his/her day went. By doing so, you will learn about the things your child tends to worry about.
Work on it together
If your child is worried about something, you could tell him/her that feeling this way from time to time is completely normal. Have him/her understand that although you couldn’t completely make his/her anxieties disappear, both of you could work together in order to manage them so that dealing with daily trouble will get easier.
Use the FEEL method
“There is nothing to worry about” – this phrase is often uttered by parents, who are trying to reassure their kids. However, what they don’t know is that, instead of alleviating their children’s worries, for the kids—themselves—it sounds like their anxieties are falling on deaf ears.
Reassuring your child this way may be ineffective and unhelpful. Anxiety directly affects your child’s brain, which in turn, would be a possible cause for your child to be distracted and to experience difficulties in responding properly. Instead of doing all this, you and your child could try the F.E.E.L. method:
- Freeze – Simply take a pause and breathe. Breathing can help calm and clear your child’s mind.
- Empathize – One of the things that can help reassure your child is by telling him/her that worrying and being anxious is a natural thing.
- Evaluate – Once your child is calm and composed, you can discuss his/her worries and find possible solutions that can help him/her.
- Let go – As parents, it is important to let go of any guilt that resides, and help your child manage his/her worries.
Tell your child to face these worries and not run away from them
It is natural for a lot of people to take a step back or get away when faced with difficulties and fears. However, this is not an effective way that would help manage your child’s worries, as he/she would not be able to learn how to overcome them. Telling your child to face these fears and worries instead of running away from them would give him/her the strength and determination to face them.
Express expectations that are realistic yet positive
One of the things that can help your child manage his/her worry and anxiety are by being realistic about such things. Tell him/her that their worries can be overcome – and facing them would make him/her become more confident as well as lessen his/her anxiety as a time goes by. For example, you can tell your child that failing an important test can be possible, but you can also tell your child that he/she can learn from this experience.
Do not reinforce your child’s fears
With the goal of managing your child’s worries and anxieties in mind, the last thing that you should do is to make your child worry more. What you don’t want to convey to your child are things that reinforce his/her fears. For instance, avoid telling him/her phrases like, “Maybe you should really be worried.” This is because statements like these would send negative messages that would do more harm than good.
Anxiety is a natural thing and it can happen to any person – whether it be a child or an adult. This is why helping your child learn how to manage his/her worries would make him/her stronger while helping him/her become better prepared for the future.