Kids worry too! This one’s for parents wanting happy children…

Kids worry too! This one’s for parents wanting happy children…

 

Do your children miss out because of worry and anxiety? Would you love them to enjoy more happiness and success in life? If so, the good news is there are practical things you can do to help…

by Nicholas Lim-Howe (Clinical & Consulting Psychologist at www.makingchanges.com.au) 

People often think that the beauty of being a kid is not having a care or worry in the world. All kids are happy go lucky aren't they? 

Yet for some children worry and anxiety cannot often impact their happiness and progress. All children experience anxiety and worry as part of their natural development and have repetitive and exaggerated thoughts like ‘what if no one likes me’ or ‘what if I fail?’ It’s common for children to be worried at bedtime, school and social situations. A little bit of worry is normal and will even prepare children to handle tough situations later on in their lives.

But sometimes anxiety and worry can be overwhelming for a child, so what are the signs?

  • Excessive Avoidance – avoiding situations or discussions that make them anxious such as sleepovers, birthday parties, death etc.

  • Physical Complaints – Often kids aren’t able to verbalise anxiety, rather they state physical symptoms anxiety such as headaches, tension in their stomach’s , nausea and dizziness.

  • School Refusal – As a clinician I hear that this is often from parents of anxious kids that its an uphill battle to get them to school.

  • Reassurance Seeking – repeatedly asking questions to seek reassurance and information from you as parents.

  • Negative Self-Talk– Kids may reflect badly on their own anxiety, and as parents  you may notice your child say negative things like ‘I’m no good’; ‘I’m can’t do this, I’m a failure’.

So what can we do as parents to help our children master their fears and succeed?

  • Be a role model – As parents we can often have the greatest impact on our child’s anxiety. Demonstrate and talk them through overcoming some of your own fears and worry.

  • Your Attention and Encouragement – As parents, your attention and encouragement are the most useful tools and rewards you have to encourage your child facing their fears. Celebrate their achievements and any gains made as they learn to face their fears.

  • Limit Reassurance – Manage the amount of information you give to your child and encourage them to discover how to solve and handle their anxiety on their own.

  • Take it step by step – It’s important when facing fears to take things step by step.  For example, if your child is scared of dogs, you may want to start off by showing them pictures of dogs, then sitting with them in a dog park, and eventually petting a dog. 

Would you like to know more about positive parenting and how to help you children manage worry more effectively? If so, contact Nick directly via nick@makingchanges.com.au and he'll do all he can to help you and your loved ones