For better or for worse, I have been transparent about my 8-year-old’s anxiety disorder. She takes daily medication, and that medication allows her to see past her paralyzing anxieties and realize a brave, joyful life with our family. That medication is a gift from God. (If you want to know more about what it’s like to live with a childhood anxiety disorder, go check out this post.)
Most kids don’t have what Grace has. Most kids have normal kid fears. Let’s talk about those for a moment.
Afraid of the dark, scared of spiders, worried about thunder – these are normal kid things.
And they are very real to the kids who are afraid.
How do you deal with them?
Let me give you a hint, in case you haven’t figured it out for yourself: Telling your kids there’s nothing to be afraid of, to grow up, and to stop being afraid won’t work. Save your breath there.
Let me repeat that. DON’T TELL YOUR KIDS THAT THERE’S NOTHING TO BE AFRAID OF.
To your child, there is absolutely something to be afraid of, and she is afraid. You aren’t going to talk her out of it like that.
Here’s an expert saying the same thing:
Recognize that the fear is real. As trivial as a fear may seem, it feels real to your child and it’s causing him or her to feel anxious and afraid. Never belittle the fear as a way of forcing your child to overcome it. Saying, “Don’t be ridiculous! There are no monsters in your closet!” may get your child to go to bed, but it won’t make the fear go away.
So what can you do? Try these steps. . .(read more on my blog by clicking here.)