Parents often ask me when and if they should consider therapy for their child or teen who is experiencing a difficult time. The best answer is yes. Intervening early and quickly is always the best outcome. If the trouble your child experiences interferes with daily life, it is essential to get extra support.
Growing up is hard, especially as a child or teen because the rate of growth and change is exponential. From birth to young adulthood your child evolves each year pretty dramatically in every way. With that growth comes new challenges that they have to learn how to navigate. From learning to read to learning to how to drive a car, the amount of new information and expectations would be enough to stress any grown person out. They also face school performance, social pressures, loss of loved ones, major life decisions, family challenges and the list goes on. We can all relate to life feeling in chaos and not quite knowing how to move from that place, but what happens if you just can’t or you do not know where to begin? As adults we have the resources to reach out and ask for help from those around us that we trust or to seek professional help. Children and teens do not always advocate for themselves because they don’t always know how. If you see your child or teen struggling and their ability to function in their daily life is being compromised it is time to step in and get them additional support.
Sometimes stepping in as their parent and helping them navigate the challenges is enough and sometimes it isn’t. Seeking therapy for your child or teen at any stage of their challenge is recommended to not only give your child the tools and support he needs, but also you as a parent. The earlier you intervene and seek services for your child the quicker the problem solving and healing process can begin. By taking your child’s struggles seriously and helping them navigate different ways to get the support they need the easier it will be for your child to navigate those challenges in the future.
How Can a Parent Help Children with Anxiety
Every child is different and faces life’s challenges differently. Some children aren’t bothered by the daily stressors that arise and seem to navigate somewhat seamlessly through those changes. However, some children really struggle and suffer from anxiety during high times of stress. These children are more sensitive to the world around them and need help to cope with the stress of life. Helping your child learn how to turn down or off the world around them in order to reduce the stress they feel can make a huge difference in their ability to tolerate stress. This is a difficult request given we live in a day and age of technology. Children know how to navigate electronics better then most adults. What can you do to help them put down the world at their fingertips and focus on being here now?
- Play with them. This seems like a simple task but it can be challenging at first. Children need space to share what is going on in their world but do not have many opportunities to do it. If you provide space by playing with your child and just being with them you can create that space. Children need encouragement to put their iPads aside and enjoy the world around them.
- Encourage them to live in the moment. Help your child or teen name things in their room or outside they can do. Allow them to lead the play.
- Listen to them without judgment. Join their world. Simply being with your child is not enough, they need your undivided attention. Yes, this means you have to put your phone away too. Helping get space from the never-ending world of the internet and Netflix will do wonders for your child’s ability to cope with anxiety and stress as it will for you.
When your child or teen suffers from anxiety it can be a heart wrenching experience as a parent. If you need extra support, ideas and tools coping with these or other struggles, Unified Family Therapy can help. Call today and make an appointment with one of our qualified team members and we can start the healing process today.