Tag Archives: teensandanxiety

7 Tips to Help Your Child Deal With Anxiety


If you are the parent of an anxious, shy child, you know the constant worry about how the world is reacting to them. It can be a scary place, and many children have good reason to worry. However, many children worry much more than is reasonable for the situation.

Anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. A person should be worried if they’re in a dangerous situation, for example. Anxiety is protective, but too much or inappropriate anxiety isn’t healthy.

Use these strategies to help your child overcome their anxiety:

  1. Be supportive and patient. It can be frustrating when your child is constantly worried about things that seem meaningless or silly. However, the anxiety they feel is just as real to them, as your anxieties are to you. You don’t get to choose the emotions or fears of other people.
    • Let your child know you’re sensitive to their feelings and are always there to support them.
  2. Avoid giving too much warning about a stressful event. If you know your child stresses out about going to the dentist, it’s best not to announce a dentist appointment three weeks in advance. The morning of the appointment is just fine. For some children, it might be even better to say, “Put on your shoes, we have to go to the dentist.”
    • Too much notice can provide too much time to worry. Figure out how much time your child needs to keep their anxiety at a minimum. Some children appreciate a little time to process what’s going to happen. Every situation and household is different.
  1. Talk it out. Ask your child what they’re worried about and why. Talk about why this fear is or isn’t valid. In other words, look for evidence to prove or disprove the reason for the fear.
    • If the fear is valid, develop a plan together to handle the issue.
    • If the fear isn’t valid, help your child to trust the evidence they found that negates the reason for the anxiety.
  2. Help your child to keep their attention on the present. We can only worry when we project our attention into the future and imagine negative outcomes. This is largely a habit.
    • Teach your child to focus on the present moment and their surroundings. Show your child that it’s more effective to focus on what is, rather than what might be.
  3. Take a look at your home life. Is your home life stressful for your child? Do you and the other parent get along well, or is there a lot of tension and arguing? Are there financial pressures in the household, the child is aware of?
    • Children might give the impression that they’re not listening, but they are surprisingly adept at figuring out what’s going on.
  4. Avoid avoidance. You might think you’re being nice if you help your child to avoid everything that causes them to feel anxious, but you’re actually contributing to the issue.
    • Each time your child is allowed to avoid the situation due to anxiety, there’s a part of her brain that says, “Hmmmm. If I make her feel anxious, we can get out of doing these things.”
    • The brain quickly learns what works. Next time, the anxiety will be even stronger. The brain will continue turning up the volume, until it’s satisfied.
    • Avoiding a stressor brings relief, which is very rewarding. The urge to avoid only becomes stronger as it’s reinforced.
    • Be supportive but avoid letting them off the hook.
  5. Get professional help. It’s very challenging for a parent to effectively help a child with moderate to severe anxiety issues. It’s likely that professional help will be useful. Find a therapist or psychologist that specializes in children of your child’s age.

Many children suffer from worry. They’re under a lot of social scrutiny at school, and kids can be cruel. They have little control over their lives. Most aspects of their lives are controlled by parents or teachers.

If your child is anxious, it can be heartbreaking to see them worry all of the time. It can also be frustrating when their worries seem pointless to you. Be supportive, patient, and get professional help if your efforts prove to be insufficient. 

Got a partner who suffers from anxiety? You’ll want to look out for the next post.

To Your Success,

Surprising Facts About Anxiety

Did you know anxiety can affect your attention span? Researchers believe there is a brain connection between the two. Initial studies on teens, show they’re more likely to have both issues together. If you have anxiety or trouble concentrating, consider the following  discoveries:

  1. The link between anxiety and attention. Here is what researchers at the University of Texas discovered:  
  • Teens who have anxiety, are also more likely to perform worse in school, because of attention issues. They also saw a connection between anxiety, and other mental health issues like depression and suicide. 
  • Researchers shared that in some cases anxiety appeared first, while in others,  it was attention span. Recognizing the first issue, can help families deal with the second. 
  • Teens who had problems concentrating, were also more likely to have anxiety. Experts believe there is a deeper reason for this in the brain. 
  1. Unconscious anxiety. Medical experts believe unconscious anxiety, can explain some cases of attention deficit disorders. 
  • Unconscious anxiety occurs, when you don’t recognize you’re actually suffering from worry and concern. You have trouble concentrating, often blame it on your poor attention span. However, in reality, your unconscious anxiety is actually preventing you from being able to focus. The root of this anxiety can be buried among deeper emotional concerns.
  1. Overlapping symptoms. Anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can overlap. Shared symptoms can include having trouble concentrating, focusing on one task, not having control over your impulses, being irritable, feeling scared and afraid to try new things. 
  • It’s not always easy to tell apart anxiety and attention disorders. 
  1. Treatment and help. If you or someone you care about has anxiety and attention issues, seeking help may bring real benefits.  
  • Treatment options can include medication to control anxiety, and help attention spans. Another option is therapy that helps adjust behavior. Meditation and relaxation, are also commonly used to help both disorders. 
  1. The role of learning disabilities. It’s important to avoid overlooking learning disabilities, that can exacerbate anxiety and attention issues.  Researchers have noticed all three issues can occur together.
  • In some cases, learning disabilities are not caught right away as a child starts school. Children are sometimes able to compensate, so the issues go undiagnosed.
  • Anxiety and attention disorders can be worse in children with learning disabilities. By focusing on the learning issues, they  have the chance to succeed in school and reduce their anxiety. A child with a learning disability can feel anxious before every test, and might try to avoid classes. In addition, the same child can be so stressed, they’re unable to concentrate on the simplest tasks. The learning disability makes these issues more difficult to treat. 
  • It’s important to note that kids aren’t the only ones who suffer from all three conditions. Adults can spend years being misdiagnosed, or not getting the proper treatments.  

Anxiety and attention issues can appear together. If you or a loved one suffers from these issues, current research can help you understand, what is happening in the brain and seek treatment. As a Social Work Contractor, I am in a unique position to to help clients with the daily challenges, some of which can be incredibly hard to move past.

Helpful resources:

Download this FREE page of an Anxiety Journal. It will help you to keep track of your moods. Print out as many pages as you need.
American Psychology Association offers help and insights on all things mental health.
Contact the National Alliance on Mental Health :1800 950 NAMI, if you need additional resources and support.

To Your Success,