In my experience, it starts with talking to them. Communication is key. Good communication between parent and child means that tricky topics are handled a little easier when they arise. I try to give them time to explain what is bothering them before I jump to giving answers. Children need space to articulate what is really bothering them, rather than having an adult jumping in and dismissing their genuine concerns – regardless of how well intended. As parents we want to protect our kids and can be too quick to reassure. This can sometimes come across as a rushed response as opposed to true listening.
Children are still finding their feet. Thy are learning how to think, feel and behave in the world that, frankly, most adults still struggle to come to terms with. Anxiety and caution is a natural response. It’s a good one in the right quantities! So, whilst they are learning how to deal with these emotions it’s good idea to be factual, open and honest. Generic reassurance won’t tackle the issue as is a missed teaching opportunity. If we teach our children to accept their emotions and think through them – then they can master them.
Learning to deal with worries in a healthy manner is a mature skill – it may take your child sometime to master it. Managing our emotions is a life-long task and there are many sub-skills that need to be mastered first. The most important of these is self-reflection. We all self-reflect in times of quiet, be that in the bath, during a dog walk or in an evening lull. Post-bath is a good time to help little ones slow down and reflect. Meditation is great for this and it’s something that is so accessible now. Many schools implement meditation into the school day as it helps with conflict resolution.
Anxiety, emotional regulation and inner peace is such a massive topic and we have barely scratched the surface. It is something the blogs will focus more on towards the end of the year.
As always if you have any serious concerns about your child’s mental health than please reach out to the relevant professionals. If you are unsure of how to seek help, we are always here to guide and advise.