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How Can I Help My Anxious Child?

anxious child hiding

Mental health and well-being is seeing a steady decline in today’s society, especially among young people. The surgeon general released a study recently regarding the loss of connection among communities and the epidemic of loneliness. He reported that “In recent years, about one-in-two adults in America reported experiencing loneliness.” His study, done even before the pandemic, was supporting the idea that loneliness and mental health is a public health concern. As people of all ages are absorbing the effects of this crisis, students are also being impacted. At WeThrive Learning, we often have students that come in and report feelings of anxiousness. Here’s a couple common threads we notice: 


The barometer of success is always rising:

Students report feeling like their best isn’t good enough anymore. In previous blogs we have talked about the perceived pressure that students can be applying to themselves, whether real or imagined. In our line of work, we also see that the pressure is reported as coming from schools and teachers, but also families and parents. While everyone can keep moving up and being successful, we need to take time to make sure that we are taking a bird’s eye view and stepping back and seeing the impact that the constant drive and pressure is doing to the kids we have around us. 


Schedules are full:

In today’s world, most families have two working adults that are constantly having to go, go, go! All of our time is allotted for, and many people run by a calendar to keep themselves organized. Though that’s not inherently a negative thing, it can leave everyone feeling ragged as if they can never catch up. These feelings of constant overwhelm make it hard when there is quiet time to truly unwind and decompress. Kids are also feeling this way, as the modeling of this behavior isn’t happening, leaving them sometimes without skills to decompress their own pressures and worries. 


So what do we do about it? We aren’t here to “fix” things, but we are here to handle our choices and responses to their feelings. We as adults cannot control the feelings of our kids and students, but we can control how we choose to sit with their discomfort and respond when they are anxious. Though this is a constant effort and time taking process, here’s two solid things we can try as a starting point with changing this behavioral pattern: 


Be a non anxious presence: When we manage our own emotions well and become a source of calm and comfort, we can become a steady source of peace for them. We want to be models of effective emotional management, rather than just another source of anxiety. What are we as adults doing to manage our own anxieties? Do we have self help skills, coping skills, and self regulatory skills? If not, it is best to find a routine that works to help manage our own worries and anxieties so that we can work towards becoming a non anxious presence. 


Respond, don’t react: A reaction and a response are not the same thing. A reaction is impulsive and doesn’t have forethought. It can come from an emotional lens, which means it can sound frustrated, angry, or irritable when we are feeling that way. However, a response is a thought out answer to a problem, question, or behavior. It gives time to practice an answer that isn’t an emotional reaction but rather a purposeful reply that redirects, answers, or encourages. Once there is a trust and understanding that a response is considerate of many variables, the anxiety can lessen on behalf of the child to come to the trusted adult for anything. 


These may sound simple in nature, but are things that go against the grain of society. Once we commit to these things as adults, we can notice that the pressure and anxiety within our homes will go down with time. However, some things can still take time and need additional support. That’s where WeThrive Learning can help. To seek support for the whole family, with concerns like these, book a free consultation with us by visiting www.wethrivelearning.com. When you seek support, you can witness the transformation and watch your child thrive! We’d love to help.

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