I am a little sad my school mum life has come to an end. I have been a school mum for so long, hands on with my daughters in primary and leaving them to their own devices in high school ....... it is all about to finalise. Reading the newsletters, parent teacher meetings etc. It is an emotional time as my youngest is currently sitting her HSC exams doing so well and boy am I proud !!!!! Coping amazingly well. Both my girls have anxiety issues and had breakdowns during the HSC.
It is hard, so hard!!!! Everyone copes differently. Anxiety and fear of not doing well can paralyse you. I was so proud on Friday as Miss B made it through her math exam happily and confident. I was smiling and relieved. She has two more to go next week and then the HSC is over.
Anxiety is when feelings are consistently very intense and severe, they can go on for weeks, months or even longer.
They are so distressing that they get in the way of a young person’s ability to learn, socialise and do everyday things. Anxiety disorders can be especially serious for young people, who are still developing. If left untreated, anxiety disorders in teenagers can have long-term consequences for mental health and development.
So what can parents do to relieve anxiety symptoms in their child.
Here are 3 ways that can help.
1. Stop Reassuring Your Child and use the FEEL approach
Your anxious child desperately wants to listen to you, as you say “there’s nothing to worry about”, but the brain won’t let it happen. During periods of anxiety, there is a rapid release of chemicals and mental transitions executed in your body for survival. One byproduct is that the prefrontal cortex — or more logical part of the brain — gets put on hold while the more automated emotional brain takes over. In other words, it is really hard for your child to think clearly, use logic or even remember how to complete basic tasks.
What should you do instead of trying to rationalise the worry away?
Try the FEEL method:
Freeze - pause and take some deep breaths with your child. Deep breathing can help reverse the nervous system response.
Empathise - anxiety is scary. Your child wants to know that you get it.
Evaluate - once your child is calm, it’s time to figure out possible solutions.
Let Go of your own worry over their anxiety - Let go of your guilt; you are an amazing parent giving your child the tools to manage their worry.
2. Highlight why worrying is often good
Remember, anxiety is tough enough without a child believing that 'something is wrong with me.' Many children even develop anxiety about having anxiety. Teach your children that worrying does, in fact, have a purpose. Worry is a protection mechanism. Worry rings an alarm in our system and helps us survive danger.
Teach your children that worry is perfectly normal, it can help protect us, and everyone experiences it from time to time. Sometimes our system sets off false alarms, but this type of worry (anxiety) can be put in check with some simple techniques.
3. Teach Your Child to Be a Thought Detective
Remember, worry is the brain’s way of protecting us from danger. To make sure we’re really paying attention, the mind often exaggerates the object of the worry (e.g. mistaking a stick for a snake). You may have heard that teaching your children to think more positively could calm their worries.
But the best remedy for distorted thinking is not positive thinking; it’s accurate thinking.
Try a method we call the 3Cs:
Catch your thoughts: Imagine every thought you have floats above your head in a bubble (like what you see in comic strips). Now, catch one of the worried thoughts like ‘No one at school likes me’.
Collect evidence: Next, collect evidence to support or negate this thought. Teach your child not to make judgments about what to worry about based only on feelings. Feelings are not facts. (Supporting evidence: ‘I had a hard time finding someone to sit with at lunch yesterday’. Negating evidence: ‘Sherry and I do homework together—she’s a friend of mine’.)
Challenge your thoughts: The best way to do this is to teach your children to have a debate within themselves using the evidence discussed. Reality can take time but be patient and persistent.
I am sharing this from the wellbeing co-ordinator at my daughters school..
Great tips, don't you think?
Is there anything you would like to add?
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