“Fear Knocked, Faith Answered.”~ Unknown
Fear and anxiety are emotions we all feel, regardless of our age or life experience. Sometimes what we’re afraid of is real, sometimes it’s a story we’re believing in our minds that may or may not be true. Either way, the emotions of anxiety and fear can leave us unsteady and unsure.
Often as parents we may not offer our children the best support for their own anxieties or fears. Perhaps we feel compelled to evoke our children’s bravery — “We’ve got to help her be tough because the world is a rough place,” we might tell ourselves. Maybe we feel uncomfortable seeing fear reflected back at us. Or it may remind us of parts of ourselves that still get scared. But we don’t have to get stuck in these unhelpful patterns when addressing our children’s fears.
Helping our children manage feelings of anxiety and fear
Below are two articles from Karen Young, a psychologist and founder of HeySigmund.com. They contain specific examples of ways to support our children in dealing with feelings of anxiety and fear that they all feel from time to time.
- In Anxiety in young kids: 11 ways to make a difference, Karen reminds us that “Anxiety in very young kids, or all kids for that matter, is a pretty normal part of their development. They’re getting used to the world and making sense of their place in it.” In addition to physical touch and holding our children, she offers examples of stories that can help our younger children talk about their fears, as well as other practices that our children can use throughout their lives to self-soothe.
- In Anxiety in Kids: How to Turn it Around and Protect Them For Life, her focus is on older children and teens. Again Karen emphasizes the normalcy of anxiety: “Anxiety is a normal response to something dangerous or stressful. It becomes a problem when it shows up at unexpected times and takes a particularly firm hold. When anxiety is in full swing, it feels awful. Awful enough that anticipation of the feeling is enough in itself to cause anxiety.” As with the other article, she offers concrete examples of what you can do as a parent to help your older child or teen work through this emotion and develop life-long coping skills.
“The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.”~ Napoleon Hill
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