How to Help Anxious Kids Help Themselves It is hard to watch our anxious kids suffer. It is hard to stomach their pain. It is very tempting to swoop in and protect them. To soften their fall. To protect them from feeling discomfort. But that is robbing them of the opportunity to build their skills. I find that the best way to help anxious kids […]
Raising an anxious child is hard. I mean really hard. I get it, I have three of them. I also get it because anxious kids and exhausted parents come into my office day after day. I hear the same stories over and over. I see the same struggles rearing its ugly head.
You are not alone.
The stress of school is finally over! No more homework battles, no more school refusal! Just pure relaxation. But summer isn’t always as easy as it seems for kids with anxiety and OCD.
When a child is not busy with after school activities, projects and huge assignments, their mind is available for other things. And more often than not those “other things” aren’t pretty. New anxiety themes pop up. New compulsions surface. Old What Ifs take hold. When there are no distractions anxiety and OCD can take center stage. So how can you save their summer and your sanity?
Often when I ask kids what they do to beat anxiety they will say things like…
I try to get my mind off it
I distract myself
I take deep breaths (honestly I think they just say that because they think that is the “right” answer)
The one thing I almost never hear is…
I beat anxiety by changing my thoughts.
Now I know that isn’t earth shattering information, and yet most kids aren’t doing this one powerful, but simple thing.
Your child is standing there, white-knuckled and pale as a ghost. “I can’t do it,” they whisper. “I’m scared.” You are about to offer words of encouragement when your partner chimes in. “Stop playing games and just do it!” You feel your stomach drop. You give your partner the death glare, but it has little effect as the tirade continues. “I’m tired of this! Just do it or you are grounded.” You stare at your child, wide-eyed and paralyzed with fear. You have two problems. A child with debilitating anxiety and a partner who doesn’t believe in anxiety disorders. What are you supposed to do with that?!