Saturday, 7 January 2012

Coping with Child Anxiety

If you are a parent with a child who suffers from anxiety, you know how frustrating it can be. You want to help your child but you don't know how and it leaves you feeling desperate while your heart is aching for them.

This is how I felt nearly a year ago when my son began having panic attacks and severe anxiety around bedtime. The one thing I did know was that I was going to find the resources to get him help. A good place to start is your pediatrician. Our pediatrician was very helpful in referring child psychologists to contact. Even before our initial appointment the psychologist recommended some very useful books and workbooks.

A wonderful book is called Freeing Your Child From Anxiety by Tamar E. Chansky, Ph.D. And there are two workbooks that my son and I did together from "What-to-Do Guides for Kids." We used What to Do When You Worry Too Much and What to Do When You Dread You Bed. These are great tools for kids in overcoming anxiety using cognitive-behavioral techniques in a very child friendly way.

They are illustrated and interactive. In the "worry" guide, it compares the worry thoughts to a tomato plant that keeps growing and growing because you are tending to it. Just like worries will grow if you pay too much attention to them.

No matter what the anxiety is, know that it will be a process, and you will need to take little steps, and be VERY patient in helping your child deal with his or her fears. The resources along with the therapy have been completely helpful! No more panic attacks and sleeping soundly back in bed - hooray!

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