How Can I Help My Daughter With Anxiety?
QUESTION: My 10-year-old daughter is exhibiting signs of social anxiety. As a parent, it worries me...big surprise, since I also have anxiety and many anxiety disorder signs and symptoms. What can I do to help my daughter with her anxiety? I don't want her to struggle with anxiety disorder long-term like I have.
Four Ways To Help A Child With Anxiety
There are four ways you can help your daughter overcome her issues with anxiety:
1. Deal with your anxiety issues
The best way to help your daughter overcome her anxiety is to deal with your anxiety. You can do this by learning as much as you can about anxiety disorder using self-help materials, such as those in the Recovery Support area of our website.
Then, work with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist to help you discover and successfully address the underlying factors that are causing issues with your anxiety.
Most often, children learn their anxious behaviors from their parents, either from one or both. When parents address their anxious behaviors, they can help their children address theirs, too.
Since children often are greatly influenced by their parent’s behavior, they are more eager to make healthy change when they see their parents exhibit healthy behavior. Children also learn faster when parents model healthy behavior.
2. Connect your daughter with a therapist who is experienced working with children.
A second way to help your daughter is to find an anxiety disorder therapist who is experienced in helping children overcome anxiety.
Unfortunately, this is often a difficult task because good child therapists are hard to find. Since not all therapists are equal, you may have to spend some time investigating so you can sort out the good from the not-so-good.
Nevertheless, it’s worth the time and effort to find a good child therapist. Your daughter could make good progress as the therapist helps her address her anxiety issues.
If you like, we have two recommended therapists who are experienced in working with children. Marie Filion, who is recognized for her work with children, would be a good choice and so would Rae Harwood. You can learn more about them by clicking on their respective links.
Often, child therapists involve the parent(s) in some sessions, too. This helps both the child and parents make healthy change. When children get help for their anxiety issues and their parents don’t, children have a harder time making healthy change because their parents model anxious behavior. That’s why addressing your anxiety is beneficial, because it provides many benefits including:
- Because of what you learn, you can help your daughter learn healthy behavior, too.
- As you exchange anxious behavior for healthy behavior, your daughter will see healthy behavior modeled. Watching healthy behavior will be easier for her to learn and adopt since she will see what healthy behavior looks like and the many benefits it provides.
- As you become less anxious, you will relate to your daughter in healthy ways. This will reduce the pressure on her and what she thinks of herself.
- As you overcome your worry issues, she will become less of a worrier, too.
- Low self-worth is almost always at the root of social anxiety. Children often develop low self-worth because their parents typically struggle with low self-worth themselves. As your self-worth improves, you will be able to help your daughter improve hers, as well.
- As you learn to relate to yourself, others, and the world in healthy ways, your daughter will learn to do the same.
Even with just these six points (there are many other benefits), working through your anxiety issues can have a positive impact on your daughter, her character development, her self-worth, and how she relates to others and the world.
3. Get resources on how to help children overcome issues with anxiety.
A third way to help your daughter is to get some good resources on how to help children overcome anxiety and worry. There are many resources available. As you become knowledgeable about anxiety, you’ll be able to weed out the good books from the not-so-good.
Your child therapist can also help with recommendations for good resources (books, workbooks, websites, apps, etc.).
4. Your daughter can get therapy when she’s older.
If you decide to self-help your daughter at this time, and she still exhibits anxious behaviors when she is older, she can always enter into therapy herself when she is older.
While addressing anxiety early is the best approach, addressing anxiety at any age is much better than not addressing it at all. And addressing anxiety in the mid to late teen years is still considered early.
For example, even if your daughter at 17 years old connects with a therapist and works through her anxiety issues for a few years, she is still well positioned to live a full, normal, and non-anxious life.
Adolescents at this age learn and internalize quickly. Adolescence is also an important stage in their lives. Learning to live healthy at this age can produce numerous benefits, including having healthy relationships and living a more rewarding and fulfilling life.
There is, however, at least one caution in waiting to address your child’s anxiety until later in life. There is a possibility that her education could be affected. Anxiety affects self-regulation, which is located in the lower parts of the brain. This foundational area can influence higher areas of the brain, causing issues with processing and concepts, which are pivotal to learning. It’s always a good rule of thumb to deal with children’s issues in childhood where they are so much easier to resolve.
Moreover, problems with anxiety generally become more apparent and problematic in the 18 to 25-year-old age range. Having your daughter address her anxiety issues before that age can resolve them, and long before they have the chance to cause major problems during that age range.
Yes, there are many things you can do to help your daughter deal with her anxiety. Taking action now can prevent years of needless struggle and lifestyle impairment.
If you are interested, you can make an appointment with either Marie or Rae via our online Make An Appointment form.
NOTE: We recommend therapy as the most important option because anxiety is caused by underlying factors that are often deep-seated. While self-help information can help the child feel better, it typically doesn’t get at the cause of the problem. Therefore, that type of help is most often superficial. Identifying and successfully addressing the underlying factors that cause issues with anxiety brings meaningful and lasting results, whereas self-help information typically doesn’t. Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist who is also experienced in helping children will identify and address those underlying factors, which is why therapy is the best option and provides the best overall results.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.
- For a comprehensive understanding of: Anxiety Disorders Symptoms & Signs, Types, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment.
- Anxiety and panic attacks symptoms can be powerful experiences. Find out what they are and how to stop them.
- How to stop an anxiety attack and panic.
- Free online anxiety tests to screen for anxiety. Two minute tests with instant results. Such as:
- Anxiety 101 is a summarized description of anxiety, anxiety disorder, and how to overcome it.
Return to our Anxiety Frequent Questions section.
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