It can be extremely painful to watch your child suffer from anxiety. You wish they felt more comfortable and carefree. You imagine that they are missing out on a fuller and more joyful life. You begin to feel anxious about their anxiety, and this cycle makes everyone miserable.
Caring for an anxious child may involve letting go of some dreams. You may not have a child who loves roller coasters, travel, competitive sports, and parties. You will be in a much better position to support your child if you accept that this is actually okay. There are so many ways to live a fulfilling life. Your child’s life may look different from yours, and from the life, you imagined for them. Accept this, and redirect your energy to supporting your child with the nonnegotiables – school, self-care, nourishing important relationships, etc.
Your child desperately needs to see that you love and believe in them – and that their anxiety is not threatening to you. Imagine that your calm is a resource they can borrow when their own calm is running low.
I’ll leave you with an image that has helped me. Your child’s anxiety is kind of like a river – cold, deep, and running fast. When you find yourself endlessly fixing and forcing, reassuring and discussing – you are now in the river with your child, as cold and wet as they are, making it difficult to offer any real support. Your role is not to jump in the river and swim with your child, your role is to cheerlead from the riverbank – and stay dry.
In case you missed it, check out what some of our other team members had to say in last week’s article on anxiety and coping strategies.
Until next time, Be Wise!
“This is my 1st visit at WISE with my son. So far I am very thankful and impressed by the space. I feel light and comfortable here while my son works on his growth. I appreciate that you curated the process well.” ~ WISE Family parent— Thankful and impressed by the space
“Dr. Amy brings together the best emotion-focused strategies with cutting-edge brain science to change the lives of children and families”— Parent of adopted twin girls
“Dr. Amy talks about moving children from being externally-driven to internally-driven…and she helps you get there!”— Parent of 15-year-old daughter
“I went home and practiced what Dr. Amy taught me…and it worked!”— 8-year-old coaching client