My son used to experience anxiety about going to school. He was feeling the pressure to make friends, fit in, listen to teachers, and make good grades. At the dinner table, he would remember he had school the next day and lose his appetite. At drop-off, he wouldn’t get out of the car without a fight.
That problem took care of itself thanks to COVID-19, but new ones have popped up. Your kids might be anxious because of the lack of traditional school or because of adult conversations they’ve overheard. Child anxiety is tough. After all, kids are just learning how to name their emotions. But I found a trick for helping my son battle anxiety.
One of my son’s favorite stories comes from the Bible. Even if you’re not into the Bible, you’ve probably heard of the story of David and Goliath. This story of heroism features an underdog who seemingly didn’t have what it took to battle against the giant warrior threatening the Israelites. Yet, with the fling of a rock, David gained the victory. To tie this story to his life, I told my son that he is like David and his anxiety is like Goliath. Here are 3 major points that helped my child with his anxiety. They could help yours, too.
David didn’t run away.
David could have run away from Goliath and gone back home where he felt safer. But he did the opposite. He showed up and offered to fight. He knew running away was not going to make Goliath disappear. Your child also can keep showing up and recognize that anxiety will not go away unless we choose to face it. Every time your child shows up anyway, it’s like throwing another rock at anxiety.
David was the underdog.
David was not a soldier and was seemingly ill-equipped to face Goliath. The king even offered his armor to David, but it was too heavy. Trying to fit in is like wearing armor that is too heavy. You can’t fight child anxiety by pretending to be someone you aren’t. Your children can face anxiety by learning to be comfortable with who they really are on the inside. While this may be a big concept for a kid to grasp, it is still crucial to remind our children of it even before they are old enough to think abstractly.
Your children can face anxiety by learning to be comfortable with who they really are on the inside.
David remembered he wasn’t alone.
The king reminded David that he was just a shepherd boy, not a soldier. When the king tried to disqualify David from entering the battle, David reminded the king that he wasn’t going into battle alone. He was going in with God’s help. Your children need to know they aren’t in the battle alone, either. God is with them and you’ve got their backs, too. With your support, your children can know that they have you on their side in the battle against their anxiety.
Does your child struggle with anxiety? How do you talk to him or her about it?