If you have a child with an anxiety disorder, besides getting professional help, there are things you can do as a parent to help your child overcome this difficulty.
It is normal for you to feel bothered about your child’s behavior and disposition but you should know that it’s not your child’s fault neither is it intentional.
If your child has other siblings that appear to be doing very well, it is normal for you to wonder why this particular child is giving you problems.
You should know that some children are born more nervous and anxious than others and are less able to cope with stress and difficult situations than other children.
Your child might also have picked this anxious trait from you or from your spouse. In other words, anxious personality can be passed on from parents to children.
Some children develop an anxiety disorder after series of stressful or traumatic events like:
- Divorce or separation of parents
- Death of a family member or friend
- Parents fighting
- Being abused, bullied or neglected
- Having an ill or disabled person in the family
- School problems
- Frequently moving house or school
Having to deal with an anxiety disorder is difficult for your child and he/she definitely wants help. As a parent, you are in that capacity to provide the help your child needs.
Here are some of the ways you can help your child:
- Do not criticize your child for being so fearful. Always praise him/her for doing something he/she is anxious about
- Do not be overprotective of him/her
- Gently encourage your child to participate in social activities
- Let your child know that sometimes you also feel anxious. This would help him/her to feel more comfortable talking about his/her anxieties
- If other people pass negative comments on your child’s behavior in social situations, you could say something like “Actually, he’s quite friendly and relates well with people he’s familiar with”. Never support outsiders in pulling your child down
- Don’t force your child to do things in front of other people
- Avoid labeling your child as “anxious” or “shy”
- Acknowledge your child’s fears. Do not ignore or dismiss it
- Gently encourage your child to do things he/she is anxious about but do not push him/her to face situations
- Speak with your child’s teacher about his/her anxiety problems so they could also provide support