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2 anxious childYou’ve heard it said — face your fears. Well there is more truth in that sentiment then you probably know.

You don’t overcome anxiety by avoiding whatever makes you anxious. You overcome it by gradually facing it.

Children are no exception. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 18 million children under the age of 18 struggle with anxiety disorders. Sources of anxiety include bullying, problems at home, and personal coping styles. Anxiety can be so debilitating that it effects every day living. Parents try to protect a child by taking him or her out of the anxious situation. But is avoiding anxiety the best solution?

No, it is better to face the anxious situation rather than avoid it.

By slowing exposing him or her to things that make his/her anxious, the fear lessens.

Try this with your child:

1) Tell your child to take a small step towards facing whatever fear is present.

2) Allow your child to make a decision about how he or she will face that fear, e.g., walk towards it, get nearer to it, engage in part of it, etc.

3) Encourage the child to take a step in that direction and allow the anxiety to come.

4) Praise him or her once the step has been taken

5) Move on to the next step until more of the fear is faced.

Eventually, the child will engage in the behavior and not be so anxious because he or she has gradually been exposed to the fear.

 

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