Children may focus on the physical symptoms of anxiety (e.g. stomachaches). Teens may think they’re weird, weak, out of control, or even going crazy! These thoughts might make them feel even more anxious and self-conscious. Providing accurate information about anxiety can reduce confusion or shame. Explain that anxiety is a common and normal experience, and it can be managed successfully! You can do this in 3 clear steps. Once your child understands this information, he or she will feel more motivated to address his/her anxiety.
Step 1: Encouraging Your child to open up about worries and fears
Start by describing a recent situation where you observed some signs of anxiety in your child.
“Yesterday, when Sarah came over, you seemed very quiet and you just sat beside me. It seemed you might have been a bit nervous about having a visitor in our house. What was that like for you?” Or, “I’ve noticed you’ve been hanging home on weekends, and don’t seem to want to go out like your brother does. What’s up?”