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How can Children Overcome Anxiety?

By Helen Nieves, LMHC, contributor to the "Mental Health Awareness" Blog on

Anxiety is very common and normal emotion that we all experience. If you are a parent of an anxious child, you know what it is like to be a hostage and so does your child. Children who worry too much go to lengths to avoid situations that they perceive as frightening. They ask anxiety related questions and the answers that are provided to them do not offer any relief. The anxiety simply remains in control and cripples them. The anxiety grows and grows. Your child has accustomed to dealing with anxiety in a certain way and changing these patterns will require effort and time from you and your child.

The following will describe certain techniques your child can do to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety:

It is important to explain to your child what anxiety or worry is and how it grows. You can tell your child that anxiety or worry grows just like any fruit or vegetable. They grow because you pay attention to the fruit or vegetable. You plant a seed, you water it and a green shoot appears. If you keep watering it, the shoot will turn into a stalk and many fruits or vegetables will appear. Many children pay attention to their worries and eventually their worries will grow just like the small seed. So how do we make the worries go away?

1) Tell your child to put their worries into words: Tell your child to think about what is really true as opposed to what they are afraid might happen. Reminding your child that if a bad thing happens they can get through it or they can make a plan to help them feel calmer and less worried. For example, your child could be afraid of big dogs. If your child is invited to a friend's house, they may worry that their friend has a dog and will bite them. You can help by telling your child to find out if their friend has a dog and if so, to create a plan such as telling the friend to hold the dog or lock the dog in another room.

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To finish reading the full article and find out the remaining techniques, visit the PsychCentral: Mental Health Awareness Blog:

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