How do I explain my child's anxiety issues to him?
Understanding a problem often makes it easier for a child to handle it. In this video, psychologist Dr. Tamar Chansky, who specializes in anxiety, offers kid-friendly ways for parents of angst-prone kids to talk to them about their anxiety.
What if this? What if that? That's your worry voice, and it's helpful then to ask your child what do you
want to call the other voice in your head that has a different take on the situation? [GENTLE MUSIC]
Kids are really mystified a lot of the time when they're afraid about something.
They're so wrapped up in their fears that they stop thinking, and that concerns them too because usually they're
thinking and solving problems. So parents can be really helpful in explaining what's going on for the child so that they don't feel
like there's something wrong with them, they don't feel different. Very important place to start is to let them
know that all children worry. You can probably find something that your child is
worried about that other kids-- or that your child is not worried about that other kids are worried about.
For example, let's say your child is not afraid of dogs. But a lot of kids are afraid of dogs.
So you can say, you know how you love your dog, but you have some friends who don't want to come over to the house because they're
afraid of your dog. Worry can land lots of different places. So that's one important message, first of all,
to let your child know they are not alone. But the next part really is letting your child know that worry is kind
of like a voice in your head that does one thing and one thing really well. And it's all about saying what could go wrong in a situation.
So you can let your child know when you hear that thought, what if this, what if that, that's your worry voice.
And it's helpful then to ask your child what do you want to call the other voice in your head that has a different take on the situation?
Do you want to call it your smart brain, or your calm brain, or your good brain? And what you're trying to do is help your child
to see that they have choices between the worry track and the good track or the true track
because then even when you're not there explaining it to them, when they start to hear that what if, they're going to be able to think, wait,
that's my worry talking to me. What do I really think is going to happen? Let me give the microphone to the other side of the story.
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