Parenting a child with Anxiety
Our 7yr old has been dealing with Generalized Anxiety Disorder for a couple years now. It wasn’t easy getting to the point of diagnosis. Anxiety in children isn’t easy to diagnose. It doesn’t always manifest as what most people think of Anxiety is. For Daniella it started out in her toddler years with being scared of high surfaces like changing tables in public bathrooms, then its progressed over time to being scared she was going to fall out of her car seat, scared to be alone in a room, etc. We’ve dealt with being scared to sleep, transition anxiety and scared to go to school despite once she’s there she has zero problems. Learning how to adjust our parenting for her has been a process. So we’ve being working actively with her therapist and pediatrician to help her cope with this as best we can.
Finding ways to help her cope
One thing I think has helped a lot these past few weeks is our home made gummies. They are made with a magnesium supplement, the Magnesium and gelatin are natural calming ingredients. Since Magnesium regulates an overactive nerve impulse it helps to calm the physical affects of anxiety. You can find the our recipe here. We take a couple of gummies every night after dinner and she’s been sleeping calmer and we haven’t had any issues getting to school the last few weeks.
We’ve also learned alot from this website, we used the advice to talk to her about her anxiety, we explained about the part of her brain that tells her to fight or flight and how it can get confused and makes her think she needs to be scared when she doesn’t need to be. She named her amygdala ‘Warrior Unicorn’ (she loves unicorns). We also learned a lot from the Child Mind website, it’s given us great ideas to help us all work through it and cope.
Another thing that’s helped is giving her an artistic outlet. When it was back to school deals in the store, we stock up on the $.10 spiral notebooks and we let her draw and color her feelings. When she has anxiety over sleeping, letting her draw out her thoughts gets it out of her head. After we draw it out she puts it in her feelings box. We took a kleenex box and covered it with scrap book paper, and let her decorate it.
We’ve picked up a few of these books to read together, this also gives us an opportunity to talk about any issues and problem solve ways to help in the future.
Growing more patience
The biggest thing we’ve learned as parents is patience and empathy. Daniella is the epitome of empathetic. She has shown us how to be caring, understanding, and patient. We’ve learned to not dismiss her fears, and let her talk out her feelings. We deal with a lot of melt downs over seemingly small things. But in her mind these feel like real giant problems.
It’s so hard as her parents to see her struggle, I’m so blessed we have a good team, and she has a great outlook on tackling it. I look forward to reading more online on how other parents are helping their kids go through this and tools that have helped them cope.