Childhood Stress, Anxiety and Social Anxiety: What you can do to help
1. Help your child outline one stressful situation that they have experienced recently. Use cartoon pictures to draw out the event. You can change the people in the event to draw them as flowers, forest animals or fish. Make it fun and don’t get caught up in the artwork.
- How did they handle it? Draw the picture that relates to the characters in #1 above.
3. Ask your child what ways could they have handled the situation by –
a. Changing their physical response?
b. Changing their thoughts and assumptions about the event?
c. Avoiding the situation?
- Let your child discuss why they handled the situation the way they did. Just listen. Ask questions. Do not judge.
- If given the opportunity to do it again, how would they handle it differently?
- What, if anything, would prevent them from handling it that way? Might there be other solutions that might work in other similar situations?
- How would your child draw the event if they had used a different (better) solution?
Many children with anxiety just want to be heard. When you listen and draw the event together, your child will begin to recognize the many choices they have to respond to their busy, confusing world. Stress is a natural part of life and you are teaching your child how to deal with stress in the long term. This is every bit as important as other life skills you have already taught your child, an honored member of our human society.