Anxiety can be a difficult emotion to experience and work through as adults and even more challenging if you are trying to help your child navigate their world with confidence and a feeling of belonging. In one way we want to protect our children from all their pain yet it's vital we teach them the skills to feel empowered to face their personal challenges with a strong sense of belief in their own abilities to cope.
To help you work with your child to manage their anxiety, here are our top 3 tips:
1) The goal isn't to eliminate anxiety but to help them manage it.
The best way to help kids overcome anxiety isn't to remove the stressors that trigger it but to help your children tolerate their anxiety and function as well as they can, which in turn will decrease the anxiety.
2) Express positive but realistic expectations.
You can't promise a child that his or her fears are unrealistic but you can express confidence that he or she is going to be ok and will be able to manage it.
As they face their fears, their anxiety will drop over time. This will give them the confidence that your expectations are realistic and you are not going to do something that they can't handle.
3) Respect their feelings, but don't empower their expression through this feeling.
It's important to understand that validation doesn't mean agreement. You want to listen and be empathetic. Help them to understand what they are anxious about and encourage them to face their fears.
One way to say this could be "I know you are scared and thats ok, I am here and I am going to help you get through this..."