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Understanding Anxiety and How to Help Your Kids

Anxiety is a word we often hear when someone feels nervous or uneasy. Sometimes, it's a normal feeling, like being nervous before speaking in front of a group. But there's also something called clinical anxiety, which is more intense and can affect a child's daily life. Today, we'll talk about the causes of anxiety, where it comes from, and how we can support our kids when they experience it.

Differentiating Fear and Anxiety

Fear is our body's response to danger, preparing us to either fight or run away. It involves our thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. Thoughts are the things we tell ourselves in our minds, like "This is scary." Feelings include unease and fear, and our body might react with a faster heart rate or dizziness. This is known as the fight-or-flight response.

Understanding Normal Fear and Anxiety

Fear is normal and sometimes helpful, like being afraid of a real threat, such as a crocodile. But anxiety is when we feel that intense fear even when there's no real danger. Sometimes kids feel nervous about new things or changes, which is quite normal. For example, being scared of the dark when they're young or feeling nervous about school.

Exploring the Origins of Anxiety

Anxiety can have different sources. Some parts are genetic, meaning they're passed down through our genes. Our brain structure and chemistry can also contribute. Kids' temperaments and personalities play a role too. Parents can sometimes unintentionally pass on anxiety patterns through modeling anxious behavior.

Positive Ways to Approach Anxiety

If you, as a parent, have experienced anxiety, it's not a negative thing. Your understanding of anxiety can lead to empathy and patience when your child is anxious. It's an opportunity to connect with your child on a deeper level. You can model strategies for managing anxiety and show them that it's okay to feel nervous sometimes.

Building Strong Relationships

If you feel you haven't connected well with your child, don't blame yourself. Instead, work on improving your relationship. Spend a few minutes each day doing something your child enjoys. This bonding time fosters resilience and positive mental health.

Challenging Anxiety Together

If anxiety has been inadvertently reinforced in your child, you can change that. Instead of avoiding scary situations, challenge yourselves as a family. Set a family challenge to face small fears together. This builds confidence and teaches kids that anxiety can be overcome.

Taking Action

I've created a workbook on my website to guide you through these steps. You can find it at This workbook includes tips for developing brave thinking, relaxation techniques, and a step-by-step plan for family challenges. By working together, you can help your kids build resilience and manage anxiety effectively.


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