Children struggling with anxiety often face difficulties in school, maintaining friendships, and generally participating in social experience. If left untreated, anxiety may result in depression, with some anxious teens sometimes turning to substance abuse to get relief.
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Given the gravity of such situations, it’s critical for your child to get professional treatment for anxiety. Besides the professional help, there are several things that parents and guardians can also do to help ensure their kids can recover the self-esteem they require to thrive.
Tips to Boost Your Child’s Confidence
Be More Empathetic to Your Child’s Anxiety
It is critical to acknowledge your child’s anxiety without any negative judgment. When you give your kids the feeling that there’s something wrong or damaged about them, it worsens the situation, which will further damage their confidence. Instead, it would be best if you were more empathetic towards their anxiety, which will develop empathy in the child and improve their social skills when connecting with others.
Teach Your Child to Take Slow Breaths When Anxious
During an anxiety episode, breathing will instinctively become shallower while the heart rate starts to quicken. Teaching your child to identify these sensations and take slow breaths will help calm them down. Over time, children who practice slow breathing when in panic will experience calmer thoughts to stressful environments and situations.
Show a Good Example
Kids learn a lot from watching their parents. Hence, it would help if you always strive to model confident behaviors. This may mean offering assistance to others, being kind to strangers, and portraying a more relaxed attitude in all social interactions. You can also share how you are dealing with your anxious feelings to show your child that it’s possible to tolerate worry and manage it calmly.
Don’t Avoid Scary Situations
A common pitfall for many parents with anxious kids is that they focus on avoiding the stressors altogether. However, while it may seem like a more manageable strategy, avoidance may result in even further worsened anxiety with time. Instead, empower your kids with the tools they need to manage their feelings to help them function better when they experience stress.
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Teach Children to Express Their Needs
All kids need self-esteem to stand up for themselves in various social situations, especially when their parents are not around. Learning to stand their ground will be especially critical when their peers bully or tease them. You can roleplay and teach them how to manage different situations to show them that they are not powerless or alone.
Avoid Labeling your Kid as Shy
Most parents will automatically call their kids shy or anxious if they exhibit anxiety-related behaviors. However, doing so only shames your child and sets the stage for the child not to take any initiative as they already know that you consider them as anxious. Instead, acknowledge that despite your child’s anxiety, they’ll be able to overcome their fears in various situations.
Never Push Your Kid to Preform
While some kids like showing off new dance moves for grandma, others may not like that kind of attention. Thus, you ought to enjoy your child’s unique personality without placing pressure on them that they are only valued if they perform. Even if you are shooting a video on your smartphone, once your child requests to stop, just stop. Let kids be kids without any pressure to excel or perform, especially in social settings.
Don’t Rush Things
To build lasting confidence in an anxious child, take things slowly, and avoid rushing the process. If your kid is afraid of sleeping in the dark, consider letting them spend only one minute in a dark bedroom and then congratulate them afterward for the massive step they took. Those small steps will slowly build their strength and, soon enough, they will not feel anxious anymore.
Highlight your Kid’s Strengths
Regardless of your kid’s anxious thoughts and fears, they are still capable of many other strong points. Help your kids find those strengths and highlight them regularly. The goal here is to make them feel proud of their abilities and develop confidence.
Encourage Effort Instead of Results
Facing anxious events takes lots of effort. Therefore, kids must be acknowledged and celebrated for their actions, even if their anxiousness has not yet been overcome. You should recognize and praise every small step taken to show them your support and foster positive self-talk.
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If you’ve tried all you can in supporting your kids, but their anxiety persists and is beginning to affect their capacity to thrive and live well, then it’s time to consider reaching out for assistance. Like other mental and psychological health issues, anxiety is a treatable condition.
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Our team at EZCare Clinic offers professional anxiety diagnostic services and also effective treatment options. We’ll help you restore your child’s confidence by addressing the core anxiety issues.
Please book your appointment today through our website, or call us at (415) 966-0848.