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The Best Way to Help Your Child with Anxiety

If you’re a parent, especially if you’re a parent of multiple children, you will likely face parenting a child with anxiety.

It is a fact.

Really a fact of life.

Many of us (adults) are anxious and have been anxious for any number of reasons stemming from childhood…or not.

For me, I never acknowledged the fact that losing my father at a young age would ingrain a level of anxiety into my developing brain.

For the general population, however, anxiety is a natural part of everyday life.

So how do we deal with it? And how do we help our kids deal with it?

Anxiety in Kids

Recently I listened to a podcast with Jocko Willink and Jordan Peterson. Both came to a similar conclusion about anxiety and how to deal with it from very different perspectives. Jocko, a military guy, focuses on detachment as an end goal but working up to facing the fear through various minute steps. Jordan, a trained clinical psychologist, approaches anxiety in the same step by step approach without necessarily focuses on the detachment piece.

Step by Step Approach to Facing Anxiety Head On

  1. Sit with yourself
  2. Sit with yourself with the door open
  3. Sit with yourself with the door open with close friends & family right outside the door
  4. Sit with yourself and your close friends & family in the room
  5. Sit in a larger room in the house with your friends and family
  6. Go outside with your friends and family

So, let’s say, as, in Jocko’s case, your daughter wants to be in the school musical but is deathly afraid of singing in front of a crowd of mostly strangers…

  1. Sing to yourself in your room
  2. Sing to yourself with the door open
  3. Sing to yourself with the door open with close friends & family right outside the door
  4. Sing to yourself and your close friends & family in the room
  5. Sing in a larger room in the house with your friends and family
  6. Go outside with your friends and family and sing

Or…your child hates reading at school out loud in front of the class or even simply his teacher…

  1. Read to yourself in your room
  2. Read to yourself with the door open
  3. Read to yourself with the door open with close friends & family right outside the door
  4. Read to yourself and your close friends & family in the room
  5. Read in a larger room in the house with your friends and family
  6. Go outside with your friends and family and read aloud

Do you see the approach? It may seem obvious but it is powerful. Take the time to make it happen and you will see the difference.

Marnie

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