Helping Kids Handle Worry - Part 1
Kids don’t have to pay bills, cook dinners, or manage carpools. But — just like adults — they have their share of daily demands and things that don’t go smoothly. If frustrations and disappointments pile up, kids can get worried.
It’s natural for all kids to worry at times, and because of personality and temperament differences, some may worry more than others. Luckily, parents can help kids manage worry and tackle everyday problems with ease.
Kids who can do that develop a sense of confidence and optimism that will help them master life’s challenges, big and small.
What Do Kids Worry About?
What kids worry about is often related to the age and stage they’re in.
Kids and preteens typically worry about things like grades, tests, their changing bodies, fitting in with friends, that goal they missed at the soccer game, or whether they’ll make the team. They may worry about social troubles like cliques, peer pressure, or whether they’ll be bullied, teased, or left out.
Because they’re beginning to feel more a part of the larger world around them, preteens also may worry about world events or issues they hear about on the news or at school. Things like terrorism, war, pollution, global warming, endangered animals, and natural disasters can become a source of worry.
Helping Kids Conquer Worry
To help your kids manage what’s worrying them:
Find out what’s on their minds: Be available and take an interest in what’s happening at school, on the team, and with your kids’ friends. Take casual opportunities to ask how it’s going. As you listen to stories of the day’s events, be sure to ask about what your kids think and feel about what happened.
If your child seems to be worried about something, ask about it. Encourage kids to put what’s bothering them into words. Ask for key details and listen attentively. Sometimes just sharing the story with you can help lighten their load.
Show you care and understand. Being interested in your child’s concerns shows they’re important to you, too, and help kids feel supported and understood. Reassuring comments can help — but usually only after you’ve heard your child out. Say that you understand your child’s feelings and the problem.
Be sure to hear about the upbeat stuff, too. Give plenty of airtime to the good things that happen and let kids tell you what they think and feel about successes, achievements, and positive experiences.
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