Help Your Child Through Anxiety
By Sam Vigil
When your child's behavior changes and is interfering with her development she may be struggling with anxiety. The behaviors that are interfering with her development and singles that she is having difficulty coping are clinginess, over-dependence, shyness, withdrawing, fearfulness, recklessly fearless, and uneasiness in social situations. Anxiety can affect them negatively in a number of areas, such as, academically because it makes it difficult to focus, socially a child does not conduct herself in a manner congruent with situations, and over or under reacts to social issues. Anxiety can physically affect them with abdominal pains and irregular bowel movements, chest pains and irregular respiratory and heart rate, and headaches and dizziness. Psychologically it can cause fearfulness, hopelessness, loneliness, and nightmares.
Anxiety is perceived fear of danger triggered by traumatic events, consistent stressors, and distorted beliefs. The fear stems from is feeling alone because a friend moved away, someone close has died, uncertainty of wellbeing due to divorce, and pressure from parental alienation. If you are going through a divorce, custody battle, or parental alienation is present evaluate your motives for helping your child through anxiety. Your cause should be to help her and not to align her to your side of the battle or to hurt your ex-partner. Resist the temptation of criticizing or blaming her for the difficulty your child is going through. Keep the conflict between you and your ex.
Use sound reasoning, discernment, and be equipped with are an understanding of her temperament and the developmental stage she is in. This will help you determine the best approach in helping her. Do not be judgmental of the way your child is feeling. This will only exasperate her anxiety and will stymie your effort. Remember her feelings are real. Once you have determined that your motive is to help her through anxiety you need to be prepared to put in the time and effort with patients.
Start by providing an environment where she feels safe to express herself freely. Then listen to her carefully without interruptions to her statement for fears and concern that may be under the surface; unless you need clarification, and then acknowledge her feelings with empathy. This will indicate that you care and build her trust to confidently approach you for support. In addition, help her with critical thinking to come up with solutions in handling anxiety in the future. If she perceives that you are not truly there for her she may become resentful and withdraw from you making it harder to help. While helping your child through her anxiety, developmental stage, and critical thinking allow her to go through the process at her own pace. Give her the time to cope. Rushing her will just add anxiety to her concerns and hinder her development.
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