Having an anxious child can feel overwhelming as a parent. What can you say or do to make them feel better? Sometimes, you can tell they need help but don’t quite know where to start. Building your child’s confidence is a great way to help them feel much better.
Please keep reading to find out different ways on how you can help your anxious child feel confident.
Does it look like this for your anxious child?
Your child is so anxious and seems almost paralyzed by it… and seems really stuck. You notice, they don’t have many friends and their teacher reports that they clam up when called on in class. Your heart breaks for your child and you wish there was something you could do. You try talking to them, but it doesn’t work. It just results in them feeling that you don’t understand them, which just makes you feel worse. Also, you sometimes notice that they get angry because they are so frustrated and irritable …everything they try seems to increase their anxiety and keep them stuck.
Eventually you end up in a place of really not knowing what to do or where to go from here. You feel as though, if you can just help your child become more confident, things may improve. Know that you are not alone. Many parents feel the exact same way you do. One thing to know is that there is help available. Knowing that there are strategies to help your anxious child feel more confident. This will with your parenting confidence, as well.
While it’s true that your child’s anxiety is increasing and beginning to concern you, please know that there is help for your child. Increasing your child’s confidence can in fact help them in many ways but most importantly, it can help them through managing their anxiety.
Our Simi Valley Therapists are here to help!
When your child is not confident, they will lack belief in themselves. In turn, they may not try as hard when it comes to challenging situations and as a result, they may give up more quickly. This may be upsetting to your child and keep them feeling anxious and inadequate.
Once your child learns the strategies to increase their confidence, they will see things in a new light. Their thoughts and language will change, and they will learn new ways to cope with their anxiety. This will increase their confidence even more and keep a positive cycle of growth happening in your child.
5 Strategies to Help Your Anxious Child Feel Confident
Strategy 1. Offer Support
One thing to know is… that if your child is anxious, they may also feel uncomfortable asking you or anyone else for help. They may not know how to ask for what they need, or they may believe they are a burden for feeling the way they do, even though they can quite control it.
It is important to offer support to your child, even if you don’t quite understand what is going on with them.
One way to do this is to let your child know they are not alone. Let them know that lots of people suffer from “worries” and that they will be okay. Let your child know that you love them no matter what and that you are by their side to help. Establishing yourself as a “safe person” for your child to communicate with will help them learn to trust and send the message to them that you have their back.
This will help them have a safe space to connect and share and as a result, increase their confidence. Our Simi Valley therapy clinicians, will work with you on how to support your child and offer them a safe space when they are feeling anxious and help enhance their confidence in the process.
Strategy 2. Teach Positive Self-Talk
One of the unfortunate things that I experience when treating child clients with anxiety are the negative messages, they tell themselves. Many kids refer to themselves as “stupid” or “weird” because of their anxiety. They are incredibly hard on themselves and speak in a mean or unkind way about themselves and their feelings. These harsh and negative messages only exacerbate their anxiety and decrease self-confidence.
One important way to help your anxious child combat issues with anxiety, self-esteem and lack of confidence is improving self-talk and language.
By using statements such as “I can” and “I will”, your child’s perspectives will transform… resulting in a reframe of their beliefs. Instead of focusing on what they “can’t” do, you will help them with their wording to realize that…while it may be difficult, overcoming these challenges is possible.
In therapy, I sometimes start by asking a child to name 3 great things about themself. It’s surprising how difficult this is for a child. Prompting questions like… “Are you kind?” or “Are you funny?” or even “What’s good about you”? may help to get your child thinking of what they are instead of what they aren’t.
Strategy 3. Model Confidence
Sometimes when we have an anxious child with a lack of confidence…we need to look in one important place first… ourselves. It’s important to explore ideas about where your child learned some of the messages they tell themselves and how we may have inadvertently contributed to it. If we are anxious and don’t have belief in ourselves, how can we expect our children to do so?
One key way to help enhance your child’s confidence is to model it. This means, following the first three steps above for yourself too! Offering support for yourself, using positive self-talk and language and modeling an overall air of confidence will show your child that they can follow your lead. If you know the formula and “walk the walk”, your child will look to you as a model and follow suit.
Our Simi Valley Therapists specialize in helping your family work together as a system.
Sometimes a parenting session can boost your confidence just as much as a therapy session can improve your child’s. Let us help you all rise together and learn and grow to handle any challenges that may come our way.
Strategy 4. Illuminate Strengths
Many times, in a first therapy session with parents, there is a great deal of focus on behavior and “fixing” this problem. Once that problem is worked through, then let’s “fix” the next one too. It seems like a never-ending checklist that can’t be completed. My colleague compares it to a game of “Whack A Mole”, that game where you hit the little mole in one location, but then another one pops up from a new location. Let’s not do that with your child’s behavior. Instead of focusing on the behavior and what your child is doing…let’s focus on how they feel. Focus on strengths, rather than weaknesses.
For Example, if your child was only confident in one class this week but very anxious in all others, consider it a win. Focus on the good part and inquire with them on what made them succeed in that particular class. Reinforce the good that they are doing and how hard they are trying, and you will see better results in their confidence and self-esteem. In turn, you will notice that they focus on their strengths and believe in themselves much more.
Strategy 5. Seek Help
When all else fails, sometimes more help is necessary. Sometimes your child needs better coping skills or a deeper look into the root cause of anxiety. This is where we can help you. Getting a professional look at the issue will help you to get started with qualified clinicians with experience in helping kids. In session, we work on helping your child and meeting them wherever they are at.
Our therapists and psychologists in Simi Valley, Ca incorporate things like play therapy, art therapy, and use toys and dolls to help your child communicate their issues to the best of their abilities. In addition, we provide a safe, confidential space for your child to learn, grow and thrive… ensuring they can rise above their anxiety.
It’s true that helping your anxious child can feel foreign and overwhelming… but following the strategies above will help your family achieve positive results. Know that you can be a positive source of hope and confidence for your anxious child.
Helping your anxious child feel confident can feel challenging, but it can be managed. Our Ventura County therapists are here to help in this struggle to empower your child and help them become confident! Call us today and schedule a free consultation and let us help!
Written by Dr. Reena Becerra
I believe that through self-compassion, inspiration and hope it is possible for anyone to reach their deepest and truest goals. My focus is working with children, adolescents, and families that struggle with Anxiety, ADHD, Depression and relationship issues. I also have a strong passion for working with adults with a history of trauma. Healing, self-love and acceptance and growing through transformation, are all within reach. Learning to truly love and connect with one’s self and others is a true gift and it is my honor to be on this journey with you