At some point in life everyone will face stressors, or environments that can create stress and anxiety. For children these simple events and situations can become overwhelming and lead to anxiety disorders that are long-lasting.
At some point in life everyone will face stressors, or environments that can create stress and anxiety. For children these simple events and situations can become overwhelming and lead to anxiety disorders that are long-lasting. You can help your child learn the skills necessary to work through these stressors in a positive way so before they become debilitating.
Here are three ways you can help
Encourage problem solving skills through role playing and open discussions
Promote self-confidence in their own skills and abilities. You can help you child learn how to deal with individual stressors or ongoing stressful situations and environments by teaching them problem solving skills. Begin first by teaching your child how to recognize building anxiety triggers. Then, help your child learn how to look at the situation or problem and identify ways to move through the situation or change their outlook. By opening up a dialogue with your children you can help them to understand that individual stressors will come up now and then and that they have the power to overcome them. You can help instill in them confidence in their own choices and decisions so that they are able to learn how to deal with situations as they come. One way to help your children do this is through role-playing or what-if activities. These activities help to present a variety of events and let your child determine his or her own way to deal with them.
Reassure children of the security of their own environment
Making sure that your child knows they always have a safe environment in their home will help them to feel more self-confident when making decisions. Providing a safe place for children allows them to know that even if they make a mistake or stumble they will always have somewhere to return to and people in their home that will love them no matter what. Helping them to understand that they will always have this level of security in their own home can help them to feel less anxiety in any given situation.
Teach relaxation techniques
and skills they can use from childhood into adulthood. Teaching children coping skills and relaxations methods is vital both in childhood as well as into adulthood. They will continue to face unexpected events, circumstances beyond their control, and situations they don’t feel comfortable in. By helping children first learn to recognize their triggers and how their anxiety begins to present itself, and then teaching them ways to control this or begin relaxing, you provide valuable skills that can be used throughout life. Some of these skills can include things such as slow and deep breathing, finding a quiet place for meditation, or even walking and physical activity. Whatever method works for your child is the one you should continue to encourage.
While anxiety can be debilitating if not managed, for children who learn early on to recognize symptoms, create a plan, and learn relaxation techniques it can be controllable and cause no significant impact on daily life. It is important to remember that every child is different, every situation might be different, and the most important things is to instill self-confidence in their own problem solving and decision making process no matter the stressor presented.
A. Lynn Scoresby, founder and president of My Family Track , First Answers , and Achievement Synchrony , and has been a marriage and family psychologist for more than 35 years. He has published more than 20 books and training programs.