Anxiety and Coping Strategies Continued

October 20, 2021

Coping skillsAmy Andrukonis, Supervisee in Clinical Social Work

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!