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Episode 102 // How to help your child if they are struggling with anxiety, worry, or fear

What are we talking about today?

There is nothing worse as a mom than watching our kids struggle. And in today’s world, SO MANY of our kiddos are struggling with anxiety!

Fear, worry, and anxiety are painful and difficult… but you CAN help your child manage these hard emotions. 

Whether your child is a toddler or a teen, anxiety and fear can be a struggle. My goal in today’s episode is to equip you not only to recognize what’s going on, but fill up your toolbelt with some practical ways to help them during the struggle.

You can do it, mama. God can give peace beyond our understanding, and He will help you in exactly the right ways to help the precious child He’s given you.

Let’s dive in.

Listen to Episode 102:

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More resources for you!

If today’s topic is meaningful to you, these resources will give some additional support:

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Today's Episode Highlights

We all struggle with anxiety at some point or another. 

In fact, recent statistics show that 20% of American children will meet criteria for an anxiety disorder before they finish school. That is a LOT of anxiety! A lot of worried, fearful, anxious kids. 

And a lot of worried, fearful, anxious mamas trying to help them. 

Well, today, we’re going to figure out how to do that very thing.

What to look for

First, you need to know some warning signs of anxiety. Most kids will not just come tell you they are struggling with anxiety! They may lack the vocabulary or feel embarrassed about it. 

So, keep an eye out for these possible signs of anxiety:

  • What you might see… signs of restlessness (tapping their foot often, unable to sit still, difficulty focusing), an extreme reaction to a normal situation (shots, going to a certain place, etc)
  • What you might hear… your child complaining often about the same things; repetitive questions; talking often about feeling worried or stressed; complaints about not feeling well (headaches, stomachaches, etc); them jumping to conclusions that are negative, or assuming the worst
  • What you might notice… your child is checking in with you more and more; your child is disconnecting from friends or avoiding social activities; your child’s behavior is changing

How to help

Well, once you’re concerned about anxiety for your kiddo, what can you do?

These strategies will help kids of every age, but of course you will want to approach your child in whatever way is best for them. If they aren’t a talker, get creative. If they don’t want to include you in the process, offer guidance and pray. Don’t give up, and DO get creative. 

How to help the spiritual aspects: 

  • Focus with your child on memorizing encouraging Bible passages, especially ones about God’s power, faithfulness, goodness, and presence.
  • Join your child in praying intentionally when feelings of anxiety rise up
  • Practice regular spiritual habits together. Don’t save Bible reading, worship, or confession for the moments of hard emotion. Make these habits. 

How to help with their thought processes:

  • Help them challenge or question their own negative assumptions. Ask questions like, “What evidence do you have that that thought is accurate and true?” or “How do you know that would happen?”
  • Help them find exceptions to their assumed negative outcomes. Ask questions like “has there ever been a time that didn’t happen?”
  • Help them acknowledge and deal with “what if” thoughts so they can stop letting those control what they do. Let them prepare for the worst case scenario and build confidence because they at least know what they would do in the anxiety-producing situation.

How to help them with skill-building:

  • Teach them coping skills and have them practice regularly. This might include music, coloring, exercise, deep breathing, or more.
  • Help them stop avoiding the thing that is creating anxiety (because that feels good in the short term but does not help in the long term)… instead, help them prepare for exposure to the anxiety-producing situation. Help them role play or encourage them during the event.
  • Help them practice ahead of time for what they will do to manage anxiety. They could talk this through, role play, draw a picture of their emotions, or find other creative ways to emotionally prepare for the hard moment. 

Want more encouragement on this topic?

Check out these other episodes for more biblical encouragement and practical tips on this topic:

  • Episode 68 // Practical steps for reducing anxiety in our own heart and home… the biblical way

  • Episodes 31 + 32 // Parts 1 + 2 What is mental health counseling? How do I find a Christian counselor? Is a life coach a therapist? All your questions answered!

  • Episode 51 // Do you have an attitude of GRATITUDE? Let’s look at 6 practical benefits of gratitude, plus 3 action steps to help you be a more thankful person.

And don’t forget to grab a resource or two that will help you LOVE Christian family life!

Friday Faith Follow-up

When your child is struggling, you’re struggling too. Emotions are big, raw, and sometimes overwhelming. So today, let me encourage you in how to manage YOUR emotions as you help your child through their own struggles and hardships.

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Hugs & blessings to you, my friend! I’ll talk to you soon.

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A reminder of the Disclaimers & Disclosures Policy: I am an affiliate with many of the resources I recommend, which means I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through my provided links. I never recommend products I don’t love! Also, I am a licensed therapist but this podcast is not therapy. It is not professional or personal advice to your specific situation. Get info about professional counseling here.