A Mother’s Guide to Handling Childhood Anxiety begins with an understanding of a new approach to helping sufferers deal with their anxiety. It’s called exposure therapy and works like this: Instead of avoiding anxiety-producing situations—performing at a recital, giving a report in front of the class, talking to adults—children are taught to manage anxiety.
So, instead of not performing at the recital or just riding out the anxious feelings, a child would choose a very short piece and also have backup plans for “temporary escape” (going to the bathroom before it’s his turn to take the stage, stepping outside to breathe deeply, etc.).
Then the next time the child has a recital, they would choose a longer piece. Having these strategies allows the child to feel empowered to deal with his anxiety triggers, rather than let them control him. So in this sense, the research suggests that children overcome their anxiety best when they work through it themselves using this type of exposure method.
The research suggests that children overcome their anxiety best when they work through it themselves.
There are other approaches to helping your child deal with anxiety, and we cover some of them here in a Mother’s Guide to Handling Childhood Anxiety:
- Know the Signs. The first step in dealing with childhood anxiety is to recognize the signs. Those can vary from child to child, but this article shows you 12 of the most common signs to look for along with a plan for ways to respond.
- Talk about it with your child. Here’s a printable with specific steps your children can take when faced with anxiety.
- Specific help for tween anxiety.
- Specific help for teen anxiety.
- Research article. This if the article that gives more details of the research into exposure therapy.
We’d love to hear how you’ve handled anxiety in your children.