Featured in School-aged
Many people experience some kind of anxiety from time to time, and school-aged children are no different. When trying to explain what anxiety is to a child, we may find ourselves at a loss for words. As it is tempting to reassure a child who is anxious, this in fact may not be what they need. It is important to teach school-aged children what anxiety is and how to deal with it.
Methods of Discipline
When parents reassure their anxious child that everything is ok, it may do more harm than good. The child may wonder if everything is ok, then why does he or she feel scared, or may feel isolated and alone and may use inappropriate ways of dealing with anxiety.
1. Build up your school-aged child’s personal strengths. By praising your child for facing his or her challenges, you build on the strengths of your child. Find things that your child is competent in, or has an interest in, perhaps sports or art. Another method is to give your child jobs around the house so your child feels like he or she is contributing to the family.
2. Let your school-aged child learn to do some things on his or her own. Providing that your child is doing something safe, try not to do things or take over from him or her. It is especially important for an anxious child to learn to do things on their own so that they can worry less.
3. Help your child to handle his or her own feelings by teaching them how to. Allow your child to experience some anxiety in order to teach them that anxiety is not a dangerous feeling but is something that he or she can cope with. Keep the lines of communication open so that your child knows he or she can say what she feels.
4. Expect the same for your anxious child as you would any other child, but understand that the pace might need to be slower for him or her. It might help to break down bigger tasks into smaller ones so that your child can accomplish them but still expect that the end goal will be met.
5. Be aware of your fears and don’t pass them along to your child. This may be difficult for parents to do, but it is important to do for any child, especially one that has anxiety. Let your child know it is safe to explore his or her environment.
Helping Your Child Cope
As a parent, it might be tempting to try to minimize your child’s fear and anxiety, however, this will not make your child feel very good about themselves. It is one thing to use humor to laugh at the world but don’t laugh at your child’s anxiety.
Even though your child is anxious, it is still important to have limits and set expectations so they know what is expected of them. By setting clear rules and expectations, it will reduce their anxiety somewhat by knowing what comes next. It is also easy to confuse anxiety with inappropriate behavior. Making proper consequences for inappropriate behavior, even for anxious children, is important. Remember that parents who have consistent and clear boundaries, consequences for behavior, as well as showing acceptance and love for their child, tend to have the most self-confident, competent and happy children.