We all live in an extremely competitive and fast paced society; where we start on the education rollercoaster, move quickly on to our careers, to purchasing cars and our dream homes. Some people start a family before, in between or after all of these pursuits, but no matter what time in life you have children, no matter what challenges you are facing when the first one comes along, you must be prepared to spend quality time in caring for and developing a close and wonderful relationship with your child.
It could be that you may feel some form of anxiety from performing the daily balancing act of juggling work, children, relationships and other commitments but in most cases, your children will be experiencing some form of anxiety too that you are unaware of. Whether your child is facing their first day at school, their first year 12 examination, or their first year of University, they may all be feeling some form of anxiety, and at these times, often the effort that their parent’s have put in into developing a close relationship with their child, really does pay off. A close relationship with your child lets them know they can come to you in times of trouble, that they can express what they are feeling to you more easily, and most of all it lets them know that you love them and are there for them despite how they are feeling, or what they are going through.
Try and remember that your child would rather have a close relationship with you (their mother or father), than be driven around in the latest model car. The time you spend in chasing up car payments, is time lost with your child. The time you spend working for material ideals, could be better spent on developing your child’s confidence and self-esteem and their confidence in you as their parent which is essential in helping them deal with anxiety. When your child develops a confidence in you, they will feel more comfortable in talking about their experiences at school with you, how they are feeling and what problems they are facing. However, if you don’t spend quality time with your child it’s very difficult for both the child and parent to develop a deep confidence and relationship with each other. All children need a strong relationship with their parents to receive the positive affirmation they need to grow confident in themselves and their abilities and there are no better role models than a child’s parents to demonstrate perseverance through difficult times, or to provide them with the security they need in a structured home.
Your child maybe feeling circumstantial anxiety, people these days are living in less stable family situations, and often children find reasons to blame themselves for their parents separation and divorce. All children should be reassured that the situation has nothing to do with them or their sister/brother that it is between mum and dad. It is important for parents to be interested in their children, to be aware of clues they may be trying to give you about how they are feeling. If they are moody, maybe something is wrong, maybe they are feeling anxious about something. When you are spending time with your children, remember to ask them how they are feeling today, and importantly, remember to tell them that you love them.
Some ideas to help alleviate Anxiety in your Child:
- Buil a strong and loving bond with your child. Spend time each day with your children and create special family times that encourage communication between you and your children such as playing board games, family sports and cooking instead of playing computer games. These activities improve your child’s self-confidence, and their problem solving abilities.
- Spend time on your child’s other talents, let them discover and develop a broad range of skills, and find what they are interested in. Too much pressure on one particular area such as, sports or maths can cause anxiety in your child.
- Coach your child on how to deal with bullying and peer pressure at school, be open and share your own experiences, explain to them who they can go to for help at school, and let them know that they can be open with you.
- When your child is facing exam week at school, it is important for you to try and understand how they are feeling, encourage a healthy and positive approach to studying and exam preparation, and if necessary to reduce the amount of chores they have to complete during that time. Also, introduce breaks and relaxation activities such as walking and swimming.
- Frequently involve extended family and friends in social activities together, this acts as a support group for your children and increases their self-confidence.
- Important: Often peer pressure that can cause anxiety in children does not only occur in the school grounds, it can also be displayed through the media, so be careful about what your children are watching on television, the magazines they are reading and what music they are listening to.
- Reward your child’s achievements, completion of their homework, reward perseverance, and reward your child for trying their best no matter what the outcome.
- Importantly, use your gut instinct, if you feel there is something wrong, ask your child how they are feeling, and try to encourage them. If your child is experiencing anxiety often, it is a good idea to take them to see a counsellor or you yourself can see a counsellor to begin with, to learn some tools on how to alleviate anxiety in your child.
Author: Kitty Barker – Kitty often writes for and with Depression-Assistance. You can also see more information on this subject at Anxiety In Child – should this link be inactive, you can paste this link to your browser – anxiety-depression-assistance.com/