Today I’m going to share with you my top 3 tips on how to parent an anxious child.
If you’re a parent with an anxious child, you may often find yourself feeling helpless or frustrated. It’s hard to know where to start. There are, however, some things parents can do to effectively support their children.
Here are my top 3 tips to parent an anxious child.
1. When children know what to expect, they feel less anxious and hypervigilant. It’s kind of like they are on high-alert; the smallest noise or change can startle them.
So preparing your child for upcoming events, letting her know her schedule for the week, and setting clear expectations will help her feel more calm. However, if there is an upcoming event which might cause anxiety, try to keep the timespan between when you tell your child about the event and when the event actually happens short.
2. 98% of parents with anxious kids engage in accommodating behaviors (that is, accommodating the anxiety). That can include anything from sleeping with your child who is afraid to sleep alone, or avoiding certain places or events-including school or social situations.
A recent study (Lebowitz, et al., 2019) completed by Yale researchers found that limiting accommodations for children ages 7-14 was as effective as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is the gold standard for treating anxiety.
With a supportive and loving posture, limiting the accommodations and encouraging your child to face their feared situation results in reduced anxiety. This cannot be done, however, without your child first experiencing your warmth and compassion. A parent can say, “Oh honey, I know this feels so scary, but I am right here with you and I know you can get through this.”
3. Practicing or role-playing the anxiety-provoking situation, while reminding your child of coping skills, comforting thoughts, or positive mantras can allow your child to feel more confident engaging in the situation. For example, parents can role-play a social interaction at home that feels scary to kids while reminding them to think, “I know I can do this” or “I’ve got this.”
Afterwards, praising him for practicing the hard thing and debriefing about what coping skill he used and how his fear didn’t come true would solidify the successful experience.
Parenting an anxious child can feel helpless or frustrating. But there are many things parents can do to support their child and decrease the anxiety.
Although I shared my top 3 parenting tips on parenting an anxious child, if you find yourself getting stuck and wondering what to do next, give us a call at Kid Matters. We’d love to help your child manage their anxiety and to support you in the process.
Dr. Alana Roth
Do you have a child who is struggling socially, emotionally, or academically? I specialize in working with children to integrate developmentally appropriate, research-based treatments and walk alongside families in the healing process.
Parent Matters Blog
Resources to help parents raise safe and informed kids.
Disclaimer: These writings should be considered a matter of personal opinion. They do not reflect professional advice. This medium does not lend itself to the level of detail and intimacy required to provide professional advice. If you are in need of consultation, I highly recommend you seek professional counseling. If at all possible, you should seek a reliable referral from a trusted source.
The internet can be tricky for parents. How much time do you allow your children to spend on it, what the rules are in place around the usage of devices, choosing apps, etc.
Can you please stop doing that…… When our kids are stuck managing emotions that may feel too big and overwhelming, we aren’t always sure the best way to respond. Depending who you ask, the answer may vary. Some may advise you to ignore the behavior, others may tell...
Parents face new challenges each day with our children and we are always searching for answers to help us face hard to answer questions, behaviors that may seem like over reactions and as well as practical solutions to setting limits and boundaries from books, other...
3 Ways to Prep for Summer Break Summer break is coming and your kid's schedules are about to change. It’s a wonderful time of year but it can also be ridden with big feelings around transitions. As a parent or 3, I find it important to prepare for transitions with my...
Don’t Parent Alone!Sign up for our FREE Newsletter: “Parent Matters.” Receive our best parenting advice right to your inbox. Our goal is to help parents raise safe and informed children.
We help anxious kids and frustrated parents. We serve Hinsdale & the Western Suburbs of Chicago.
Made with ♥︎ in Hinsdale, Illinois for Chicago
Built By Brand Your Practice.
© 2019 Kid Matters Counseling, P.C.
Kid Matters Counseling, P.C. DISCLAIMER: This website and blog are for informational, educational and general discussion purposes only. It is understood that no guarantee or warranty arises from the information provided, discussed or commented upon in this. website and blog nor does it constitute legal or other professional advice on any subject matter. Access to this website and blog is voluntary and at the sole risk of the user. If you think that you have a medical emergency (including clinical), call your doctor or 911 immediately. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. While the information contained within this website and blog is periodically updated, no guarantee is given that the information provided is correct, complete, and/or up-to-date.