Authored by Ryan Rivera
As a parent, it is only natural to want to provide the best environment for our children. We offer them protection and security so that their full potentials are developed. However, innocent as they seem, there are certain things we do that cause anxiety to kids.
The childhood years are supposed to be filled to the brim with fun and happy moments for every child. However, when anxiety enters the picture, everything changes. Instead of being the fun-loving, happy-go-lucky person your child is meant to be, he becomes apprehensive, fearful, and worried. Unfortunately, you might have participated in this sad reality.
Here are five things you must not do so that your child won’t grow up severely anxious. And if your child already is suffering from anxiety, these things shouldn’t be done since these can worsen your child’s condition.
- You must not take your child’s fears and worries lightly.
Your child’s fears and worries are serious. Thus, it helps to avoid making light of the situation. Saying things like “Get a grip!” or “Quit being such a baby. You’re a big boy now!” to your child may seem harmless to you, but these words can create a negative impact to your child.
Unfortunately, most parents commit this mistake. They tend to think their child’s apprehensions are nothing serious, that maybe their child is simply going through a phase that will eventually pass.
But here’s the truth: your child’s fears and worries are real. And yes, they’re serious. Acknowledge that your child is feeling anxious. When you accept the situation as something real, only then can you deal with it effectively.
- You must not let your child bite off too much at once.
So you have come to terms with the fact that your child has some trouble with anxiety. You now go off and search for ways and means to reduce that apprehension, that nervousness. As a parent looking for some remedies that would nip anxiety in the bud, so to speak, please remember this: your child is exactly that—a child. It is only natural to want to find something that would ease your child’s worries all at once, but your child needs to take it easy.
Let’s say your child is extremely anxious with the idea of meeting new kids. To combat the anxiety, you decide that the best course of action would be to enroll your child in a preschool class so he would be exposed to fellow kids. It’s sort of letting him face his fears, in other words.
While your intentions may be noble, the experience could be traumatic for your child. Take small steps toward your big goal. You can start with play dates or bringing your child to the kid’s park. Slowly but surely is the way to go.
You must not rule with an iron fist.
“Deal tough with tough.” Some parents have this notion when dealing with their children who are riddled with anxiety. They believe that the symptoms of anxiety would simply disappear if they become tough, iron-fisted parents to their kids. Because really, how can you toughen up your children if you don’t act tough toward them?
Please remember that this parenting style isn’t usually very effective. As mentioned earlier, kids are kids. They’re scared and unsure, and having their parents act all mean and strict toward them aren’t going to help things.
What your child needs is to be soothed and comforted. This may be contrary to the belief that being soothing and comforting toward your kids is babyish behavior, but for children to be anxiety-free, this behavior can help a lot. Be gentle with your child. Do your best not to let his nerves become more jangled than they already are.
- You must not discourage your child from talking about his feelings.
Those feelings of apprehension, nervousness, and worries are new to your child. They have no idea how to deal with these frightening feelings. When your child approaches you and tries to talk to you about his fears and worries, by all means, let him.
Having an open form of communication with your child about his feelings of anxiety is a great form of help for him. Talking about how he feels helps unload a great weight off your child’s chest. Remember that feeling when you tell a friend about a big problem, how you feel lighter and better? That’s how your child feels, too.
Encourage your child to communicate with you. Aside from feeling lighter and unburdened, your child will know that you are always there for him. That would help a lot.
- You must not show your child that you are upset.
Children look up to their parents. That’s a fact. Your child expects you, his parent, to be the model of strength and stability. No matter how truly upset you are about your child’s anxiety, make sure to demonstrate only good and positive behavior when around him.
Let your child see that you’re cool and confident as you go about your daily activities. This relays the information that if you could face the world head on with grace and confidence, then your child could do the same too. Your actions should tell your child that there is nothing to be worried and anxious about. When he sees that, he might relax and become less anxious as well.
Bringing up a child is a challenge. This is perhaps the most difficult task anyone can have because how you do it can either break or make a child. We must take careful considerations about what we do and say that could likely affect the child’s holistic development. Being aware of the MUSTN’Ts and DON’Ts will guide us in effectively performing this tough but such rewarding role.
Ryan Rivera used to suffer from severe anxiety. He is now living quite a normal life with his wife and kids. He offers tips and help to anxiety sufferers through the website www.calmclinic.com