Fear and anxiety are emotions we grapple with our entire lives and as we experience trauma in our world daily, we run the risk of increasing that anxiety. As adults, we experience stress and fear and we often forget that our children may be experiencing fear and anxiety as well. Though we may not be able to eliminate their fears entirely, we can teach our children how to manage these emotions effectively.
Dr. Clark Goldstein, Ph.D. with the Child Mind Institute, gives 10 tips on how to positively impact your children and help with their anxiety.
- Teach them anxiety management skills i.e focusing their breathing for relaxation.
- Do not avoid discussing topics that make your children anxious. Gauge what topics are appropriate to discuss and explain in ways they can comprehend so you can effectively help them navigate their emotions.
- Be positive when speaking with them but also realistic. Often, anxiety does not have a quick fix.
- Respect their feelings but do not empower their fear. Remind them that you support them and will help them overcome their fears.
- Ask them how they are feeling and encourage them to express themselves.
- Try to avoid reinforcing their fear.
- Help them overcome anticipatory fear that develops when they have upcoming events like a doctor’s appointment or the first day of school.
- Talk them through their fears and the things that make them anxious.
- Try to model healthy ways of handling anxiety daily.
- Teach them that anxiety is a feeling that may come back and encourage them to use the skills they have learned to overcome their fears.
Parents feel anxiety as well, even more with information we are exposed to from around the world. As parents, nannies and guardians, its important for us to manage our own stress factors by; talking to friends and family, limiting how much news we take in daily that may contribute to more stress, talking to our children about their own anxiety, reminding them that we will always be a support for them and lastly, finding positive ways to refocus our energy and mindset. We may not be able to eliminate anxiety, but we can learn to manage it.
For more from Clark Goldstein, Ph.D., Click Here
For information on Managing Fear from New York Times Parenting, Click Here