Anxiety in Child - Question about Child Anxiety
Anxiety in Child
Parenting Question & Answer
My 10 year old son is a well-developed, gifted student who is socially well-adapted, attractive and pleasant. However, there are certain things that cause him child anxiety - carnival rides, fireworks, even severe weather.
His anxiety manifests itself even physically (diarrhea), and he will cry and "melt down" at the suggestion of his participation. My husband (his natural father) and I feel that he does not need to ride the rides, attend the fireworks displays, etc.
The real problem is that our son's 27-year old sister (my daughter from a previous marriage) takes us to task in front of our son and firmly tells us that we are making a weakling of our son. She even makes fun of him to his face for not being brave.
Is she right? Should we make him "face his fears", or are we following our instincts correctly by allowing him to grow into his own level of comfort?
Your help would be very appreciated, as once again, the 4th of July was spent at home as he did not want to go to the fireworks. We are fine with this - we just want to make sure that we are not harming him by letting him be afraid. Thank you so very much.
Answer to Anxiety in Child Parenting Question:
First of all, I'd like to commend you and your husband for standing up for your ten-year old in the face of your daughter's criticism. Every child has fears, even your twenty-seven year old daughter is afraid of something, regardless of whether she is willing to admit it. (Anyone who claims they're not afraid of anything is lying.) Often times, people who are quite intelligent are fearful because they are sensitive and keenly aware of the fragility of human existence.
Although fear is natural, we should not allow it to cripple us or hamper our quality of life. Doing so, can turn fears into phobias. Your son's fears are not crippling and only require that he avoid certain situations. While he can control his exposure to fireworks and carnival rides, he cannot control his exposure to storms. So right now, let's make this our area of concern.
(By the way, before I give my suggestions you should know that I also have a ten-year old boy who was once afraid of fireworks and carnivals. We helped him through his fear of fireworks long ago, as he showed willingness. Last month, he went on a carnival ride with his older brother for the first time.)
Anxiety in Child: Suggestion for Overcoming Child Anxiety
Since he cannot control the weather, I suggest you work with him to discover what in particular he is afraid of and what he imagines is the worst thing that could happen in a storm. If you can get to the source of his fear, you may be able to help him discover that his fear is unreasonable or unlikely to happen. If you can, try to discover what first made him afraid of storms. Maybe he saw something at the movies or on a cartoon show that made an impact on his consciousness, but was highly unlikely to happen in real life. This is often the case with children because they have a tough time separating fantasy from reality.
When helping your son overcome his child fears, invite him to do some research and learn as much as possible about storms. This may help him uncover some facts that show him that his fears have little or no basis in reality.
For instance, when we discovered a tarantula in our backyard, my boys were hysterical. I captured the tarantula under a glass, then my boys and I did research on the web and discovered that this species of tarantula was not venomous. Equipped with this knowledge, my boys were able to make the decision to take the tarantula to an open field and set him free. In other words, knowledge combats fear and puts unreasonable fears into perspective. For more about how I helped my boys overcome their fear of spiders, click on dealing with anxiety in child
When dealing with anxiety in child, the wrong thing to do is tell your child to toughen up. Your child needs help.
Your daugher, however well-meaning she may be, is making the situation worse. In addition to insisting your son confront his child anxiety before he is willing or able, she is humiliating him for how he feels. Not only is this damaging to his sense of self, he is going to end up afraid of her and may want to avoid contact with her completely if she keeps it up. Rather than helping him which is the compassionate thing to do, she chooses to alienate him. Show her this article and gently remind her that you and your husband, not her, are the parent of your child.
If you follow my suggestions for overcoming anxiety in child, this will translate to helping your son with his other fears. Keep in mind that your child may eventually outgrow his fear of carnival rides and fireworks. His desire to be with friends who participate in these activities may also help as he approaches adolescence. When you respect a child's fears and teach him how to overcome them, you create a closeness that is not possible when you humiliate him for his fears.
Anxiety in child: when you help a child learn more about his fears and develop coping mechanisms, you create a closeness and sense of trust and safety that cannot be created any other way.
In our society, we put on faces of bravado and use bumper sticker slogans such as, "No Fear." But fear is part of the human experience because no one knows what is around the corner. In many ways, reasonable fears help ensure physical survival which is why parents teach their children to be afraid of certain things. But fear does not have to turn into child anxiety or phobia. And fear should not be allowed to cripple us or turn into a generalized anxiety.
As adults, we can learn to transcend fear and act in spite of it. Despite this, fear will never completely go away because it is so deeply ingrained in our programming and the instinct for survival, but this is a topic I cannot address in an article, only one-on-one.
If your child suffers from unreasonable fears and anxiety in child, holistic supplementation can help. Many parents have written in to recommend this remedy for child anxiety and shyness. Click on the link to read parent testimonials and how nutrients can help heal parts of the brain and promote brain development that leads to a natural sense of calm. This formulation was created by a psychologist, is completely natural and has no side effects.
If you or your husband suffer from panic attacks, I suggest you take care of this by going through the most effective anxiety-reducing program I have encountered called The Linden Method. The reason to do this is clear: children sense adult fear and will come to associate fear with particular situations which may eventually lead to a full blown panic disorder. Remember that you reactions to people and events train your children how to react as well.
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About the author:
Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning book, parenting book - Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting - which combines ancient native philosophy (such as true child stewardship) with heart-centered psychology to show parents how to raise children to develop their innate strengths and lead uniquely purposeful and fulfilling lives as adults. The book offers a journey of self-discovery for child and parent.
Laura teaches a parenting class series via teleseminar. Parents can listen in and learn from the comfort of their homes and ask questions at the end of each session or download the sessions for listening later. In the class, you will learn all about guiding the unique unfolding of your child. And as you take the time to look into the heart of your child, you will see more clearly into your own.To find out more or fill out an application for the class, click on the link above.
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