The 1 Thing to Avoid When Dealing With Your Child’s Anxiety

Children with anxiety can be very fragile and helping them cope may seem like your own parenting Everest. If you’re trying to ease your child’s anxiety and encourage them to work through their fears and worries, there is one major tip you need that will be the key to overcoming their anxious feelings: do not let your child avoid the thing they feel anxious about.

“Avoidance,” said Dr. Robin Alter, a child psychologist who specializes in anxiety, “is really the best cure for anxiety — and I say that completely facetiously. It may be the best way to keep your child comfortable, but that’s just going to lead to them avoiding more and more things.”

Dr. Alter gives the example of a child not wanting to go to a friend’s birthday party, whether it be the fear of separation from you or a worry that they won’t fit in or have fun. “Sometimes parents give in, thinking, ‘Well it’s not such a big deal if we don’t go to that one birthday party since he’s anxious about it,’ but it basically tells your child that avoidance is a good strategy and reinforces their anxiety and this pattern of staying away from the things they fear.” Avoiding…

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