BUSTING CHILD AND TEEN ANXIETY
Another year is approaching very fast and with it will come— exams, finals, good-byes, and college. It can be all wrapped up in one word — CHANGE. As parents, we look to find that proper balance between pushing and letting them relax to recharge, but how do you know when the balance is off? Here are just a few things to look for:
Withdrawal — is your child disconnecting from the things that they used to enjoy? When the mind becomes overwhelmed or stuck, it goes into a sort of “self-defense” mode. Shutting down and trying to sort it all out is good, but only when the process does not take you dramatically away from those people and activities which can help the mind relax and decompress.
Action steps: clear the calendar and make an appointment with your child to just simply relax! No school, no social media, no studying. Give your child’s mind time to take a break and enjoy the freedom from the pressures. Make this time all about relief through enjoyment and help their mind enjoy that taste of reconnection.
Short-tempered — even when things seem to be going well in the moment, if your child is barking at his friends, or you and other family members, it’s time to check in and call a mental time out.
Action step: reset the moment with your child by telling them to take a second and just let the grouchiness go and take a simple few deep breaths in. Avoid taking this as an opportunity to ask a lot of questions. Just take it as a moment to release and start again. Freedom of the mind releases the negative energy of anger and frustration, so it doesn’t keep showing up to ruin the moment.
Who cares attitude — pressures from academic and social situations can lead to a child feeling defeated before he has even started. Too much on the mind can feel to your child like he is carrying a heavy backpack full of trouble. Once his “mental energy” is done doing the heaving lifting, he just stop short of the goal.
Action step: help your child sort out all the important things by going over them, prioritizing and breaking down tasks into steps. This will help him keep all the power needed for the immediate step (study this chapter and only worry about one chapter now) rather than feeling the drama and trauma of the end goal (pass the regents and worry about it all now) weighing down his mind and energy.
You know your child, and you know when your child’s behavior changes. Sure, it’s another year of so much going on. The good news is that when you take a step in a new direction and help guide him with a new approach, you can break the old cycle and ways of thinking just in time to make these best efforts yield the best results.
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