Breaking the Cycle of Fear and Worry (FamilyHealer.tv Conversations)


Join me, September 23rd, from 12:15 pm to 1 pm (Pacific Standard Time) for the latest FamilyHealer.TV “Conversations”: This weeks topic is how to “Break the Cycle of Fear and Worry in Children”.


This is an education and supportive Zoom event. Parents and professionals will not want to miss this one! In this conversation, we will look at why children have anxiety, how to increase your child’s Emotional IQ, what parents can say to comfort their children, and how to help children become Worry Warriors and Fear Fighters!

This Conversations Show is part of our training course “Big Worries” at FamilyHealer.tv.

*The training portion will be recorded. Q and A is private.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86568232529?pwd=ZTJMQXZQTGVuSWNrbFE0bDcvYk1KZz09

Meeting ID: 865 6823 2529
Passcode: 929523
One tap mobile
+16699006833,,86568232529#,,,,*929523# US (San Jose)
+13462487799,,86568232529#,,,,*929523# US (Houston)

Dial by your location
        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
        +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
        +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
Meeting ID: 865 6823 2529
Passcode: 929523
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kejqtplGg8

Helping Children With Anxiety

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 8.41.43 AM

We have created a new course for parents on “Helping Children With Anxiety”. You can view it now in our Online Courses page (click here). This course will include:

  • What is Anxiety?
  • Developing Your Child’s Emotional IQ
  • How NOT To Pass Anxiety On To Your Children
  • 8 Helpful Things (Strategies) To Say To An Anxious Child
  • Children’s Fears: Create a S.A.F.E.R. H.O.M.E.
  • Teach Your Child To Be A Worry Warrior and a Fear Fighter
  • A Healthy Gut is a Happy Gut!

SPECIAL OFFER: Our Freedom From Anxiety program is now available as a monthly membership program. Get new tools for the body/mind/spirit and overcome anxiety for only $29.95 per month. Don’t miss this unique offer…click here for more info!

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 8.41.33 AM

 

Parenting a child with anxiety

Mrs. Roosth was tall and gaunt, uncomfortably quiet, with small eyes and angry hands.

I leaned back too far in my chair and landed with a thump on the classroom floor. She wrapped her bony fingers around my arm, yanked me up to my feet and just about threw me into the nearest corner to stand for the rest of the day. A few hours. I was in the first grade.

My stomach hurt. My muscles spasmed in my back. My chest grew tight. I thought I might die. But I didn’t say a word.

That’s my earliest memory of serious anxiety. But not my last. Or worst.

I missed a Homecoming dance in high school because anxiety so debilitated me that I couldn’t stand and walk.

I was so heavily medicated on my wedding day that I slept through the first night of the honeymoon!

I turned down my first offer of a record deal because I fear traveling. And just the worrying about it doubled me over in pain and sent me to bed for the better part of a day.

But since eventually signing that record deal, I’ve traveled to around 100 cities every year for twelve years. As a musician and speaker I’ve stood on stage and done my thing in front of tens of thousands of people. Sometimes all at once. As a spokesperson for Compassion International, I’ve traveled to ten developing countries with questionable airplanes, eaten grub worms and guinea pig, and lunched with posh dignitaries and mobs of slum children.

No more debilitating anxiety. How’d that happen? And how can we as parents stave off the anxiety of our children?

My mother is as close to a perfect parent as there is. But even she made mistakes. Just two.

When I became anxious she made it worse by doing two things:

Telling Me To Stop It

I couldn’t stop being anxious any more than I could stop being a boy. It didn’t feel like a choice. Telling me to stop being anxious made me feel defective, abnormal, like I couldn’t do something everyone else could. Telling me to stop worrying gave me more things to worry about! Does my mom think I’m a weirdo? Will everyone else think I’m a weirdo? What’s wrong with me?

Telling Me What Would Happen If I Didn’t Stop

My mother is a worrier too. And when I worried to the point of dysfunction, she worried out loud. On my wedding day: What if you don’t get better…people are already at the church…we can’t move a wedding…you don’t want that do you? And of course I didn’t want that and I didn’t want my mother to worry either so I tried to reassure her, which is quite the opposite of relaxing.


Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography

Today I have four children and one of them is anxious. Here’s what I do when her anxiety prevents her from fully living:

Don’t Push

I don’t push her to play in the piano recital that has her in knots. Making her feel like a lot is riding on her getting over her anxiety will only make it worse.

Listen

I ask her what she’s feeling and listen. When she takes a breath I hand her a tissue and listen some more. The feelings are the effect. I want to listen until I hear the cause.

Interrupt

People with chronic debilitating anxiety are often ruminators. They are people whose thoughts get stuck in a groove like a needle on a record, going round and round playing the same anxious thoughts again and again until it’s all they can hear. So it’s important to interrupt my daughter once I think I understand her feelings and what’s causing them. I tell her what I think she’s said to me and ask her if I’m right. If she says I am but then tries to restate it all again – ruminating some more – I cut her off.

Imagine The Worst

This is counterintuitive but I ask her to imagine the worst thing that could happen at the piano recital. I’ll freak out and forget my music and everyone will stare at me and I’ll be embarrassed.

Prevention

I ask her if there’s anything she could do to prevent this from happening. In the case of the piano recital, does she have to play the music from memory or would the teacher let her have sheet music nearby just in case?

Plan

We figure out together what we’ll both do if the worst actually happens. I promise I won’t laugh or be embarrassed or love her any less or think she’s any less talented. Recitals are bad measures of talent. And talent isn’t why I or anyone else in that concert hall loves her.

But what will she do is the worst happens? She may decide that she’ll take the sheet music with her and use it if she forgets the notes. She may come up with a self-depreicating joke she can make to ease the tension and get the audience on her side (I still do this all the time). If she can’t come up with a plan, thenI help out but I really want this to be her idea, because I want her to be able to do this for herself when I’m not around.

Celebrate Success

When the piano recital ended without disaster we talked about how brave she was, how proud I was of her for facing her fears, and we had dessert. We celebrated the success. For me, successes, even the smallest ones, give me confidence that the worst rarely – if ever – happens.

Parenting myself this way over many years has destroyed anxiety. There are still things I’m afraid of, worried about – especially when bills are due. That’s normal. But I’m no longer disabled, half-living because of severe anxiety.

The next time your child is too afraid to live fully, please don’t push. Instead, help them understand their fears, make a plan and move forward. Who knows what kind of life is waiting on the other side of their anxiety? Help them get there.

Do you struggle with anxiety? What has helped you break free?

SHARE: Do you struggle with anxiety? What has helped you break free?