Help Your Child Overcome AnxietyMany children experience anxiety, during infancy, babies experience anxiety around strangers as well as separation anxiety, as they get older their anxiety might center around other, sometimes imagined, situations (like monsters under their beds, or fear of the dark). Just like an adult, children need help and understanding to help them overcome their fears and anxieties, they need time, love and patience to outgrow their fears; it’s just part of growing up.
Some of the symptoms of extreme anxiety include tummy aches, nausea, nervousness, being overly clingy and over attached to their caregiver. If your child is suffering from anxiety it’s important that the parents and caregivers understand the child’s triggers; in other words what it is that they are afraid of. Being aware and conscientious of their anxiety triggers can help you gauge how serious the situation is and this is the first step to treating and helping your little one.
If your child is very young you could use role-playing to reconstruct an imaginary version of the situation that causes the anxiety. This can include using magazine clippings, picture books, and ask him to describe the people in the pictures, focusing on how they feel, if they are angry, sad, happy, etc. the parent can use this virtual emotion to help a child understand why the person in the book might be feeling what he is feeling.
Teaching your child to talk openly and honestly about their fears is especially important and can help you get to the root of the problem and help alleviate the problem. It is very important not to make fun of your child or ridicule his feelings; they might seem silly, but his fears are very real to him and if he feels you don’t understand he could clam up and become even more anxious without your support.
It is very important that you stay calm! As a parent or caregiver seeing a child who is frightened, or worse, terrified is a horrible experience, but having the patience to stay calm and collected, not lose your temper or get angry when your child freaks out over something that seems ridiculous to you is very important and can help defuse the situation faster. If your child feels your anger or frustration he might interpret it as fear and become even more anxious.
If your child’s anxiety is extreme and you are not able to help him control it he might experience anxiety attacks during which he will feel like he can’t breathe and could become terrified. If this becomes a frequent occurrence your child might be in need of professional help to alleviate the symptoms. Anxiety attacks can spiral causing more fear and a sense of danger and turn into an anxiety disorder if not treated properly.
Many children suffer from anxiety, and in many instances it is simply a normal part of development and a byproduct of growing up in a world you know little about. Helping your child overcome his fears without ridicule and without anger is very important to building a lasting and strong relationship with your child and helping them overcome their fears.
Lisa A Jones is a mother of two and writes about anxiety disorders in children at her website to help parents.
Photo: flickr.com/photos/alongride/8221364080/Filed under Child Development, Parenting Advice, Parenting Information | Comment (0)