by Lori Ramsey – real life parenting with a mom with 6 kids
With 6 kids of my own, I learned quickly that children worry as much or more than adults, and often it’s because they haven’t been taught what they can and can’t control in their lives. Worry for a child adds stress to an already stressful life, with being in school, making good grades, and overall performance on electives. Teach your child about the things they can control and help them to let go of the things they can’t.
If everyone would stop and consider the situations they face, they can choose a better way to react and may avoid situations which could turn into worry. Tell your child they can control their reactions to any situation, good or bad. They can control the words they speak. Help them to understand the power of positive talk versus the tear-down of negative talk. They can control their actions. If someone threatens to start a fight, they don’t have to react by being physical. Controlling their behavior is well within their power. Teach them about behaving and choosing to do the right thing.
Often, children will make a choice that leads to a mistake even if they know the choice is a poor one. If you make your child take responsibility for their choices including their mistakes, they will learn to think through things more and choose options they believe are right rather than making mistakes. It’s okay to make a mistake if it’s not intentional, but they need to learn they can control this. Worrying over making the wrong choices is eliminated if they think through the process.
By telling your child the things are out of their control, they can release this from their mind and from the worry they may feel. Children should not worry over how other people react. They shouldn’t worry about what others say or think. These things are beyond our control and worrying over this is needless. By knowing this, children are free to let the worry go if they are worried about things other people say or do that’s not directly involved with what your child is doing.
Of course, teaching younger children is a little different over teaching older children. With younger children, you will need to give illustrations or examples of worrying and of what they can and can’t control. Older children you can talk to them straight out.
Recommendations for Helping a Child Be Worry Free
Make sure your child has plenty of rest. Children who are fatigued may experience stress and worry more. Set a time to go to bed and make it a routine. Routine bedtimes help to insure you are giving your child the amount of sleep they need. Keep the home serene, especially before bed. Don’t argue or fight with your spouse where the child can hear it. Don’t play loud stereos or television. Keep the lights subdued so they experience sleepiness. Put them to bed with calm and peace.
If a child seems susceptible to stress and worry, ask their doctor to test for vitamin deficiencies. Certain deficiencies cause anxiety, depression and similar stress related conditions. For example, my daughter had panic attacks, worried needlessly over her grades and other activities. We tested her for iron deficiency and other vitamins. It turns out when she took a vitamin with iron, magnesium, and B complex, her anxiety subsided. I don’t recommend giving a child supplements without their doctor clearing it first though. But that’s an example of how we curtailed the worry and anxiety.
Practical things like breathing exercises, stress balls, counting, will help to ease stress and worry in a pinch. Teach your child when they fell worried to stop and take three to five deep breaths and to focus on the breaths. This will often reroute their thoughts and stop the anxiety and worry.