How Can I Help My Child With Anxiety?

What do I do when she’s afraid and I can tell the thoughts have become looping? 

That she won’t go upstairs to take a shower if I’m not upstairs with her? 

That she won’t go to school for fear of throwing up? 

That she won’t spend the night at a friend’s house? 

If you were to bring your son or daughter to Daystar, these are a few of the places we’d start:

1) Make a worry list.  Here’s an example.  When he’s afraid, the blood in his brain is literally rushing to his amygdala, which controls a fight or flight response.  This also means its not circulating as well in his pre-frontal cortex, which enables executive functioning.  In other words, he is not thinking with the part of his brain that helps him organize his thoughts, differentiate between good and bad, think through consequences, set goals, and control his impulse.  He is thinking in survival mode.  His heart rate elevates.  His autonomic system is on alert.  Basically, he is not reasonable.  (You probably know this much better than we do.)  In order to help him reason, we need to help slow down his nervous system….to come down from a 10 to a 2 or even a 4.

With many of the kids I counsel, I’ll help them come up with a “Worry List”-a list of things they can do to help calm themselves down when they start to get anxious.  Basically, they’re coping skills.  Make one of these lists with your child.  Have them tell you what makes them feel better and more peaceful...

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