Anxiety is a very common disorder which appears not only at adults, but at children too.
According to psychologists, anxiety is usually not treated and can last several months or even years.
Studies show that children with untreated anxiety are more likely to engage in substance abuse, under-perform academically, and remove themselves from important social development experiences.
In order to protect your child from long-term anxiety, you should learn the ways of reducing the anxiety.
How To Protect Your Children From Long-Term Anxiety?
1. ALLOW THE CHILD TO CONFRONT THEIR ANXIETY.
While helping children avoid the things they’re afraid of may help in the short-term, it exacerbates the problem in the long run.
It’s important for parents to understand that pulling their child out of every anxiety-provoking situation reinforces avoidance – a poor coping mechanism for anxiety and stress.
2. SET POSITIVE AND REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS.
Setting positive and realistic expectations is all about instilling a sense of self-confidence. Often, expressing confidence that your child will be okay allows them to manage their anxiety well enough to see things through.
3. RESPECT, BUT DON’T EMPOWER, THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS.
You don’t want to belittle your child’s anxiety, but you don’t want to amplify it either. If your child is fearful about going to the doctor, address (don’t ignore) her concerns.
Listen and be empathetic, and say something along the lines of “I know you’re scared now, and that’s okay. We’ll get through this together.”
4. DON’T REINFORCE THEIR FEARS.
In other words, don’t give your child a reason to be afraid. If your child has a negative experience with a bully, for example, the last thing you want to do is give him or her a reason to fear the big, strong kid in class.
Again, empathize and listen. If you don’t know how to respond, do some research and come back to the discussion. Whatever you do, don’t say “there’s a good reason for your fear” unless there is.
5. MOTIVATE THE CHILD TO TOLERATE HER ANXIETY.
It’s important to let your child know how proud you are of them enduring anxiety. Anxiety and fear aren’t easy things for anyone to contend with, much less a young child.
We should know that we all possess what is called the “habitation curve.” As we are exposed to the thing(s) that we fear, we slowly but surely get over them; which is precisely what a child – and all of us, for that matter – needs to do.