Over the generations, anxiety disorders have become more recognizable, and diagnosis is much clearer and easier than the decades before. Raising a child with anxiety is difficult and requires a lot of patience, but luckily many parents have been in your shoes, and there are many resources available to use. Simply having an open mind and affording a little bit of your understanding towards your child will go a long way towards easing their anxiety and raising them the best you can.
Supporting Your Child With Anxiety
A good starting point in helping your child suffering from anxiety is simply to respond supportively to them. Acknowledge your child’s anxiety symptoms and ensure they understand that you also understand and are listening to their issues attentively. Display confidence in your child’s ability to cope with their anxieties as a way to reinforce that behavior so they will repeat their coping mechanisms with comfort. It’s also a good idea to learn to identify your child’s specific triggers and symptoms together, so you can best plan a course of action during episodes of anxiety.
Meditation and Grounding To Help With Anxiety
An activity that could greatly benefit your child’s health and your relationship is meditating together. Even 10 minutes of meditation every day can go a long way to help your child cope with anxiety! The first step toward meditating together is to create a relaxing environment, someplace with the least amount of noise and other distractions. Make sure to practice deep breathing together, so your child doesn’t feel alone. Some people believe that meditation is about completely clearing the mind, but it actually involves silently observing all five senses. Listen to background noise, focus on a single object in the room, feel the floor underneath them, notice the smells wafting through, and any taste they may have, like leftover bits from lunch. This helps a child with anxiety ground themselves and focus on their concrete surroundings instead of their thoughts.
Striking A Balance
Sometimes it is important to make a few changes in how you behave and go about your life to help your child with anxiety. However, you also need to be able to strike a balance when it comes to accommodating your child’s needs. It’s almost like a catch-22, where making slight adjustments to your schedule can benefit your child in the short term; however, long-term accommodation can typically result in worse outcomes for your child. They may go into adulthood without progressing in coping with their anxieties, which can set them up for failure when adjusting to adult life.
Consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety
One of the best things you can do for your child with anxiety is to consider therapy. Just like any other health problem, anxiety is best treated under the care and supervision of a medical professional. A huge concern for many parents when it comes to therapy is medication, but that isn’t the end-all-be-all. Simple Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, can produce tremendously beneficial outcomes for your child. If these services are accessible to you and your child, they will shape a stable and healthy path forward in raising your child to be the best they can be!
Be A Supportive Parent
Raising a child with an anxiety disorder takes a lot of work and requires much more patience than raising a neurotypical child. Just remember your child may also have a difficult time living and coping with their anxiety, and the best thing for them to have is a supportive parent always there to listen to them and help them in their times of need.