Helping an Anxious Child or Teen See the Bigger Picture of Themselves

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When you have an anxious child, they may feel that is all you see because in their mind, that is all they see and feel. Anxiety is so overwhelming at times, the child or teen feels they have nothing to offer anyone except their nervous self. It’s important for parents to help them see themselves in a broader way with their accomplishments, companionship, and empathy for others. How do parents help their anxious kid raise their self-worth and see themselves as a whole person, not just an anxious one?

Tips for Helping Parents Support their Anxious Child or Teen

1.When your child or teen is anxious offer to discuss with them what is troubling. Lend an attentive ear and a rational point of view.

2. Lend your perspective on what your child may be anxious about, so they can grasp an alternative vantage point.

3.If you succeed in lowering their anxiety, talk about other parts of their day. Discuss what else is on their mind.

4. Broaden the conversation to non-anxious topics that make them feel good or even laugh.

5. Go into detail about these other topics, so your child begins to grasp they are more than just a bundle of anxiety.

6. Praise your child or teen for their achievements even small victories over obstacles that have seemed in their way.

7. Discuss their interests and how they want to further develop them.

8. Point out how they are empathic and kind individuals.

9. Discuss future plans for the weeks coming up and also for their more long term future.

10. Point out how their anxiety has decreased considerably as you’ve talked together.

Now is the time to explain to your youngster that they are not just an anxious person, but a whole individual with viewpoints and interests. They will begin to see a rise in their sense of themselves. Their anxiety will not always be in the forefront because you have helped them see that this anxious state of mind is only a piece of their personality that people see.

As you help your child or teen realize they are liked and loved for who they are and that their anxiety is just a part of them that you accept, they, too, will be able to have a deeper, more complicated view of who they are.

Once your youngster sees a bigger picture of themselves, then they can start to set goals about reducing their anxiety. This may require talking with you more frequently or seeking professional help such as a therapist along with an assessment for medication to reduce the anxiety.

Soon your son or daughter will be able to manage their anxious states more easily because they will have a bigger picture of themselves and how others view them. This is essential for taming and coping with anxiety in it’s many variations.

At the same time, you will be deepening your relationship with your son or daughter, a super plus to all these discussions. Congratulate yourself on being a resourceful parent who shows your child or teen that you believe in them. They will not only trust you more, but they’ll also trust themselves.

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior found on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Visit her website for more guidance and insight:


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