24 February, 2016
Supporting your child to cope with anxiety without empowering fear
By: Lorena Patrucco, RECE, B.A (Psych), M.A.
When children experience a high degree of anxiety, such as fear, nervousness, shyness, avoid activities, or school refusal among other symptoms, even the more well-meaning parent could fall into the trap of exacerbating child’s anxiety and sky rocketing their own anxiety and stress level.
Here are some pointers for helping your child to manage anxiety,
- Help your child to express his feelings and worry thoughts through the use of different techniques, conversing, drawing, claying, etc.
- Do not eliminate or avoid things/situations that make your child anxious, help him to slowly learn tolerate their anxiety as he/she slowly faces it, step by step.
- Validate his feelings with empathy and compassion
- Express confidence, “You can do!” and he/she faces the anxiety, it would eventually drop
- Consistently practice consistent techniques, such as relaxation, deep breathing, to help your child to easy their anxiety symptoms when needed.
Other techniques to support your child include,
Teach your child Relaxation Techniques and exercise it together!
- Deep breathing (balloon breathing, box breathing) or guided relaxation. Helpful videos:
- Visualization techniques. Helpful links:
- Pleasurable Activities
- Mindfulness and Meditation: Help links/videos:
Help your child / teen manage worried thoughts,
- “Is that a helpful though or an unhelpful thought?”
- “What helpful though can you think of?”
- “Is there a different way to look at this situation?”
- “Don’t let your worry voice boss you around!”
- “What glasses are your wearing today? Foggy lens or a clean lens?
Be supportive and in tune to your child’s needs,
- Keep a consistent routine
- Increase predictability
- Encourage independency
- Encourage coping/ resiliency
- Be flexible
If you prefer to receive a more personalized treatment, create a prevention plan, or to speak with a child and youth therapist, contact Harmony Counselling.
Get more information, recommendations and parenting strategies in our Blog Post. Cope with Anxiety Psychotherapy
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