1. Worry is normal.
We will all experience worry. Some kids feel overwhelmed by the internal sensations of worry and don't always understand what they are experiencing, which can feel uncomfortable or cause feelings of vulnerability, shame, guilt or impact self esteem. Knowing worry is something everyone experiences normalises it and helps children feel less isolated as well as increasing the likelihood of them reaching out for support.
2. Worry can be helpful.
Help your child overcome any belief that there is something 'wrong' with them by teaching them that worry is something that evolved as a way of protecting ourselves. Historically, worry kept humans safe from immediate danger in the environment. In our modern lives, worry can still help keep us safe but often sets off false alarms. By learning to spot when this happens we can manage worry effectively. Help your child to understand that it's important to listen to our worry alarm in case we are in a situation that poses an immediate threat, such as a fire in another room or a busy road to cross. Then explain how because worry is a warning alarm or a protective bodyguard, we get to decide if we need to take action.
3. The aim is not to avoid worry.
When children feel overwhelmed with worry, they can lean towards avoidance behaviours. This can prolong or intensify the experience of worry or anxiety. Explain to your child that as worry is normal, the important thing is knowing how to manage it.
4. Worry can make you powerful!
When we feel worried, our brain signals the release of stress chemicals which sharpen our thinking and strengthen our body. This prepares us for action. This becomes more problematic when we don't know how to switch off this response. If we know how to calm our nervous systems, then we can benefit from the response worry initiates!
5. There are ways to manage worry!
Finally, worry isn't something we have to just put up with. If we decide worry has raised a false alarm, there are strategies we can use that help us manage the way we feel so we can develop resilience and feel confident.
Knowing these 5 things can help your child develop resilience and feel more able to cope with worries when they appear.
Hey! I'm the founder, creator and voice of Ink and Scribbles. Sharing thoughts on child well-being and parenting that are based on my teaching and parenting experience, and NLP learning.