Are you a parent? Do you have younger siblings? Are you an aunt or an uncle? Chances are you have kids in your life at some level. If you suffer from anxiety you are keenly aware of some of the debilitating issues that comes with it. You are also uniquely qualified to help those kids BECAUSE you have anxiety.
If you recall your school days (or maybe you’re still, there) there are all sorts of social pressures around your peer’s. I’m not professing to understand the modern teenager at 50, but I have kids I do know what they go through. Things are different now, kids don’t meet at the mall (hi all my Gen X friends, remember those days? See you at Orange Julius) they meet online.
The digital world is cruel, people hide in anonymity with screen names and post messages to others they would never say to someone’s face. Remove the adult filter and kids are worse. On top of that teenagers are starting to experience hormonal shifts that come with puberty and these swings can amplify anxiety.On top of that, kids today are more tapped into the real world because they are online so much. Mass shootings? Your teenager knows all about it. Opioid epidemic? Your kids have seen it online. All of this can trigger anxiety and if you have it and these are your children its likely they inherited some of their issues from you.
There is no “fix all” but there are 3 important things you can do with kids of any age that will help them navigate anxiety.
- Talk to them: I know every says talk to your kids. Really take the time to do this, particularly on current events. Its critical they have a venue other than their peers to talk about the issue.
- Invest in what they love. If your kid is a gamer, try playing some games yourself. If your kid is a soccer player, take them to the soccer field. Whatever they are into, start investing your time into it too.
- Listen and watch them when they are online: This is critical as so much interaction happens online now.
School is right around the corner and kids will get anxiety. Start building the foundation now so if needed you can help the child later. You can do this; they are totally worth it!
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