Tips for Parenting Anxious Children

12 October 2016
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Every parent hopes and dreams of having a perfect child, but no one is perfect. This can be especially hard for parents of anxious children because anxious children often have a difficult time coping in social situations when other children thrive, like at birthday parties. If you have an anxious child, here are some tips to help you and your child get through anxious situations and come out on top.

Let Your Child Learn to Do Things on His Or her Own

It is very easy for the parent of an anxious child to take over and do things for their child to make them feel better and less anxious. But this sends children a mixed message. When you do things for your child, you are sending the message that you don't think the little one can do things on their own. Then that child will start to believe that they can't do things themselves, and their self-esteem could be reduced to nothing.

You also don't want to constantly reassure your child that everything will be okay. The best thing you can do as a parent of an anxious child is to teach your little one to figure out the answers to their own issues and questions and to reassure him or herself.

Don't Lower Your Expectations

If you have other children, it's very important that your anxious child has to deal with the same expectations as the other kids. But, as a parent, you need to understand that the pace will be slower for your anxious child. You can help your child reach goals by breaking down big tasks so it will be easier for your anxious child to reach goals.

For example, the first time you go to a classmate's birthday party, you agree to stay there as long as your little one is playing with the other kids. The next birthday party, you could stay for a half hour. For the third birthday party, you stay for only 10 minutes. Sometimes role-playing the different ways your child can handle a difficult situation helps greatly.

Build Your Child's Confidence

When your anxious child faces challenges, exhibits bravery, or tries something new, praise him or her. Depending on your child's personality, this can be a quiet pat on the back, a special treat at the store, or loud and exuberant praising with clapping hands and whistling. Search various avenues until you find something your child really enjoys and is good at, like art, music, sports, and so forth. And make sure your little one has a household chore that gives them a way to be a contributing part of the family.

Don't Pass on Your Own Fears

It is very easy for parents of anxious children to unknowingly pass on their own fears. It is essential that you keep your fears to yourself and always present a positive description of a situation. Teach your children that it is safe to explore new things and situations. But also make sure you don't minimize your children's fears when they do arise. Instead, show your little guy or girl how humor can help them deal with the world when they are feeling anxious or scared.

Help Your Child Handle His or Her Feelings

This can be tough, but parents must teach their children that it's okay to have some fear and anxiety. This is something that every human has to cope with at various times in their life. Let them know that it's also okay to experience other feelings like sadness, anger, and disappointment, along with happiness.

Tell your anxious child that it's perfectly acceptable to talk about what they feel, no matter what type of emotion is involved. And if their feelings are getting the best of them, then they can take some time for themselves. Since you as a parent are modeling good coping techniques, it's okay for you to take some time out for yourself as well.

After taking these tips into consideration and using them in your family, and your child is still experiencing high levels of anxiety, then an anxiety coach can help. There are many resources for both children and parents, including workshops and life coaching. Call your local anxiety coach today. He or she will be happy to help you.