May 6, 2019
Parenting a Child with Anxiety: 7 Things You Should Avoid
Written by Rachel Eddins
Parenting a child who struggles with anxiety can feel overwhelming at times.
It’s important to understand that your child is no different from any other, and their anxiety isn’t a reflection of poor parenting.
Sometimes, though, you can feel helpless when witnessing their worries and anxious feelings. Thankfully, there are things you can do to help your child with anxiety.
There are also certain things you should avoid. In doing so, you can help to ease their nerves, keep them calm, and help to manage the stress of your entire family.
Let’s take a closer look at some key things to avoid when you’re parenting a child with anxiety.
1. Ignoring Their Feelings
When your child has anxiety, it might be difficult for them to fully express what they’re feeling. This is especially true if they’re starting to have an anxiety or panic attack.
Don’t just assume their fear is unwarranted and will pass. By getting to the root of their anxiety, you can better understand it and help them manage it.
2. Getting Worked up When They’re Anxious
It’s understandable to feel helpless when your child suffers from anxiety. But, the best thing you can do is to remain calm. That will make it easier for them to calm down once again.
If you start to act on your own anxiety, it could make things worse for your child and will be more stressful for both of you.
3. Being Too Flexible
Flexibility is important when it comes to raising children, in general. But, a child dealing with anxiety will greatly benefit from familiarity and routine.
Things don’t always work out perfectly, so there has to be room for a bit of change. But, for the most part, try to establish a routine your child is comfortable with.
It will help to remind them that they’re safe and secure and can reduce feelings of anxiety.
4. Not Planning Ahead
Your child may struggle with different aspects of their day, so planning ahead and giving yourself a bit more time will help to reduce stress.
If their anxiety comes every morning as they get ready for school, give yourself a few extra minutes to get ready and help them calm down. Or, if it comes at night before bed, try an earlier/different bedtime routine to ease their fears.
Once you start to better understand some of your child’s triggers, planning ahead will become easier.
5. Telling Them Not to Worry
Some of the biggest things to avoid with an anxious child are certain phrases. Telling your child not to worry or telling them “it’s no big deal” can really make them feel worse.
In the middle of having an anxiety attack, they’re already feeling a great deal of worry. By you telling them not to, it implies that it’s unacceptable to have those fears or worries.
That might not seem like much to you, but it can leave a great impact on your child and make their fears and insecurities even worse.
6. Fixing Everything for Them
As a parent, it’s normal to want to help your kids through their hardships and even do things for them so they don’t have to struggle. That isn’t always helpful when your child is anxious.
Children with anxiety often want to face their fears and get through their feelings. Sometimes they struggle with it and aren’t able to. However, this doesn’t mean you should try to “fix” everything for them.
Instead, try to guide them through their worries and assure them that you’re there to help. When they feel safe and secure, their ability to get through their anxieties on their own will be greater.
7. Expressing Hopelessness
Though you may feel exasperated and hopeless at times when it comes to your anxious child’s needs, don’t ever tell them that. Not knowing what your child really wants or needs can be heartbreaking for a parent.
Yet, instead of confessing that to them, try to work on things together. Brainstorm different ideas with your child when it comes to what their needs are and what you can do to help them.
This will offer them reassurance that you’re there for them and will help you to learn more about what you can do to ease their anxiousness.
Seek Help from a Specialist Therapist
Parenting a child with anxiety can take a bit of extra patience and understanding, but by avoiding certain things that can trigger even more fear and worry, you’ll help to make the experience easier for everyone. Or consider seeking help from a specialist child, adolescent or family therapist at Eddins Counseling Group in Houston, TX. Your child and their therapist will work together to develop skills and strategies to cope with symptoms such as anxiety. Call us today at 832-559-2622 or book an appointment online.