What To Do (And Not Do) If You Have an Anxious Child

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If you have a child who suffers from anxiety, you may be wondering how you should handle it. Some parents may be quick to reach for medication for impulsive behavior, but that is not necessarily the long-term answer. There are ways that you can help your child manage the anxiety without eliminating or exacerbating it.

Express Realistic Expectations

You may be tempted to negate your child’s fears by promising unrealistic things. For example, you may promise that your child will have fun at the birthday party he or she does not want to attend, or you may say that the child will do great on the math test that is coming up. These are often not realistic, and they do not help your child’s fears.

Instead, acknowledge your child’s feelings and take a positive position. Let him or her know that everything will be ok, no matter what happens. The more the child faces fears with confidence, the levels of anxiety should reduce.

Don’t Reinforce Fears

Over time, you will learn to recognize the irritability causes. This may cause you to also build up anxious feelings when the anxiety-causing situations arise. You may unconsciously, with your body language or tone of voice, send a message to your child that he or she has a good reason to be afraid.

Shorten the Anticipatory Time

The time leading up to a stressful event is when anxiety is the highest. Instead of preparing your child hours ahead of time, tell him or her about the stressful event closer to when it is going to happen. This keeps anxious thoughts to a minimum

Don’t Try to Eliminate the Anxiety

Some parents may think that the best way to deal with their child’s feelings is to take away the things that cause the anxiety in the first place. However, this is not healthy, as it does not allow the child to face fears and learn to manage the feelings around it. The goal should be to work with your child to manage the feelings. As they face more of their fears and realize they are not as scary as originally thought, the anxiety will start to reduce.

Try to Avoid Prescription Medication

To deal with more severe anxiety, parents may turn towards medication. However, most of the medication for anxiety are prescription drugs, and they come with some serious side effects, including increased risk of medication addiction and abuse. As a safer alternative, consider trying the best non prescription anxiety medication, which does not contain harmful ingredients.

Don’t Cover Up Your Own Anxieties

Even if you do not have full-blown anxiety, there is a good chance there are times when you feel anxious and stressed. Instead of hiding your feelings from your child, demonstrate healthy ways that you deal with them. Remain calm and show your child that even if you are a bit afraid, you still have the confidence to go through with it, and you feel much better once you did. This also lets your child know that he or she is not the only one with anxious thoughts and fears.