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Anxiety In Children

How to best support your anxious child

When families report symptoms of anxiety, they are often experiencing a lot of two things: struggle and limitation. 

Children who are experiencing anxiety are often struggling to interact with friends, perform academically, or try new things.  This often results in struggles and conflicts between parent(s) and child.  Because the world feels unpredictable to them, the child will often limit their engagement with activities.

It is important that parents do not give into the struggle and allow their child to limit themselves severely.  If you do, it will reinforce the idea that your child has something to fear, which can further feed their anxiety.  It is important to continue to encourage your child to do whatever makes them anxious.  You may need to adjust your expectations of what that looks like but don’t prevent your child from wrestling with their anxiety.  They need to wrestle with it to keep it at bay.

Unfortunately this will bring more struggle.  Parents often give in to limitations because they’re exhausted by the struggle.  If you find you are regularly giving in to your child’s request’s to avoid the struggle and conflict, it’s time to get some support.  It can be helpful to talk with a child & family therapist to determine a path that will best support your child in their anxiety, thus decreasing the struggle and the limitation.

Some questions to consider to learn more about your child’s anxiety:

  • Has your child always been anxious or did something initiate a more anxious state?
  • Does anyone else in the family tend toward anxiety?
  • Does your child regularly access information intended for adults such as news, conversation, movies, etc.?
  • When does your child appear least anxious?
  • Is your child asking for power and control?  How can you offer them age-appropriate power and control?
  • What injury (physical, emotional, chronic or one-time incident) might contribute to their sense of feeling out of control or unsafe?

Hopefully, these questions will help you become curious about your child’s anxiety.  Curiosity will help you leave judgment behind so that you can really begin to understand what’s happening with your child. Next, get the support you need so that you and your child can have a more harmonious relationship and so your child can feel more safe and secure in the world.

→ Child & Family therapy can help your anxious child Call 503-349-2281 to make an appointment Email us