How Anxious Moms Help Anxious Kids
Anxious Moms Can Build Confidence in Kids
Anxious moms have often feared they would cause anxiety in their children. However, when moms use their knowledge about anxiety that they garnered from their own experiences, they realize they have a lot to offer their anxious children. Armed with understanding, moms who have coped with anxiety know how to reassure their nervous children giving them confidence that their anxiety will be relieved.
When a nervous child discovers that her mother understands her without judgement, this is relieving in itself. The child feels reassured that she can turn to her trusted parent when she feels self-doubt, uneasy feelings, and fears of the unknown.
Moms Who Have Experienced Anxiety
Recognize Early Symptoms
When the following warning signs are caught early by experienced mothers, the symptoms have less chance of escalating in their children:
1. Excessive repetitive worrying that leads to no resolution.
2. Decreased or increased appetite.
3. Difficulty falling asleep or frequent awakening.
4. Difficulty concentrating.
5. Rapid speech that seems like unfocused chatter.
6. Rapid breathing that is difficult to slow down.
Five Ways Mothers Reduce Anxiety in Their Children
Once moms notice these symptoms, they can help relieve them in the following ways:
1. Interrupt repetitive thinking by narrowing your child’s focus to specific problems to solve.
2. Offer several small meals a day that are easier to accept than larger portions.
3. Sit with your child while she tries to fall asleep, so she feels less alone.
4. Help your child organize her homework, so she can complete assignments piecemeal.
5. Reassure your child that if she speaks more slowly, she’ll feel calmer.
6. Point out to your child that she is breathing rapidly and instruct her to breathe slowly and evenly.
How Mothers Curtail Panic Attacks in Their Children
Mothers who have experienced panic attacks recognize them quickly. These early interventions shorten the attack:
1. Reassure your child that anxiety always goes away to set them more at ease.
2. Instruct your child to put a small paper bag or cupped hands over his nose and mouth and have him breathe slowly. This balances oxygen and carbon dioxide taking away a woozy feeling.
3. Reassure your child that you will stay by his side, so he won’t feel alone.
4. Encourage your child to look around the room, so his focus shifts from the discomfort within himself to the outside world.
After the Anxiety Attack
Once the anxiety attack has passed, the mom can explain to her child what has happened. Putting an emotional experience into words helps to manage it. Use the words “panic attack” to make it easier to discuss and point out how the child has coped with a difficult experience. Suggest that your child rest a bit in order to collect himself to sustain the calm feelings that have been attained. Point out that he can be proud of himself for managing a difficult emotional time.
This discussion builds confidence in the child’s belief that he will be able to handle future anxiety attacks should they occur.
If the anxiety persists, the mother who has experienced anxiety throughout her life knows how to find resources in the mental health community that will help her child. The mother and professional therapist can work as a team not only in helping the child cope with her symptoms, but also in identifying causes of anxiety in order to find lasting resolutions to inner conflicts.
The Importance of the Mother-Child Connection
When mother and child weather the youngster’s anxiety together, the child feels understood. While fears of future periods of anxiety continue, the child does not feel judged for having this vulnerability.
The anxious child has learned she can rely on her mother to guide her when she feels unable to grapple with her worries. The child feels a sense of safety and security in her mother’s presence.
MOMS–LET DADS KNOW THAT NOVEMBER IS DADS MONTH ON PARENTAL INTELLIGENCE. Learn about dad empathy, dad guilt, and much more!