Have you ever read the story “Wemberly Worried”? It is about a young mouse who worries about EVERYTHING!
She worries about school, friends, if the tree in her front yard will fall down and hit her house and so many more. Her parents say…”You worry too much. When you worry, I worry.” This is how the books goes on and on. At the end of the story, she has a FABULOUS day at her first day of school and none of her worries come to fruition. She is happier now.
I read this story to my students every year. I LOVE it!! The purpose of reading this story is because of the first day of school. All kids worry to some aspect about the first day of school. But if you look in depth at this book, she is constantly worrying about everything!!
The reason I bring this up is I notice my own children WORRY often. My concern is that this will turn into an ANXIETY disorder. It definitely can if I don’t teach my children how to MANAGE their worries and anxiety.
We all have anxiety right?! I do! I can tell you several things I have anxiety about. The important aspect is that we know how to self-regulate ourselves to address our ANXIETY and WORRIES.
This past weekend, our family took a Hunter’s Safety class. We spent the week before studying online, taking quizzes and then attended the classroom checkout day. The morning was spent reviewing the material. When the instructor told us we were going to be taking a 50 question test and had to get 75% to pass, my kids started to WORRY. This was WORRY #1. We reminded them that we studied all this information this past week. That didn’t help much. Nonetheless they took the test and passed with flying colors.
The second portion was going to a shooting range and passing a safe handling and shooting test while using a rifle. We stopped for lunch, ordered it to go, and started driving to the range. This is when the next round of worry started.
“Are we going to be late?”
“Where is Dad going?”
“Did Dad take a wrong turn?”
“It’s 1:12. We are supposed to be there at 1:15.”
I eventually piped in and CALMLY asked them to RELAX and told them we would be fine. This strategy doesn’t work much as it pretty much communicates that their worry isn’t very important.
That night, REFLECTED on the amount of ANXIETY I witnessed by our children. I was a bit disturbed and knew that I didn’t do a good job RECOGNIZING their WORRIES. Being SYMPATHETIC to their worries is one of the FIRST things we need to do as parents.
I researched a bit more and found this out. The article suggested NEVER to say, “Relax” or “Don’t worry about it.” Oops…I failed on that one when I told my daughter to relax.
I also read about some great strategies to use in these situations. Here they are!
- Have them name the worry.
- Find out what they are ACTUALLY WORRIED about. (Get the details!)
- Ask them what is the worry telling them.
- Discuss if it is really a worry or not
- Ask, “How can we change that worry into a positive thought?”
I used the first few bullets last night with my son who was worried about something. It was great to get his take on what EXACTLY he was worried about.
Then we were able to address the WORRY head on.
HOW DO WE ADDRESS IT? Take a look at these techniques.
- Teach your child deep breathing techniques
- Use some sort of stress ball
- Teach your child how to write it out. Getting it on paper is very powerful.
- Reframe worries to a positive
- Talk to an adult
Teaching our kids any of these strategies is a GAME CHANGER. We NEED to teach them COPING skills for WORRIES and ANXIETY. We don’t want to create a world for them where they don’t have any WORRIES because when they are older and on their own, they will face these scenarios.
Take the time to use the strategies I have listed here or search up and find some others. Your kids will be able to COPE with their NORMAL ANXIETY when they get older which can help keep it from BALLOONING to a full on disorder.
Living in DAILY JOY,
For 5 FREE Self-Care Tips, join my email list here.