Does your child ever feel anxious or afraid?
It feels like a tsunami of conversations have been had this month about anxiety in children/teens. I have heard this week countless stories of bullying, self-harm, anxiety, depression and attempted suicide within my sphere of influence. My heart is very heavy with the sheer volume of encounters that our family is going through. So can we have a hard conversation?
It goes without saying that life is different now, than when we were children. I don't want to let you know how ancient I am, but we didn't even have the internet until after school. Shock horror... I know, I am that old! So you might think what I have to say is irrelevant to the current generation of children and teens. But just hear me out, I work with these precious ones of all ages every single day, and I am confident that I have a small scrap of insight to share regarding our children.
What if we purpose to do more to make our home, car, dinner table, night time routine a safe space in our kids day? When the world around is spinning out of control they know they are safe with us and that we hear them. Let's make some special routines that will become even more valuable in the hard times. It is crucial that if things are going badly at school, our children/teens know they are safe to talk to us.
Our teens and kids need a space outside of home and school to escape to. This could be Nannas, youth group, soccer, horse riding or...….dancing! There do need to be "other worlds" for our children to hide away in when one of the spheres is off kilter. If your child is artistic or creative or sporty.. find them a place to plug in and feel protected and inspired.
Do It Afraid
One of my family motto's is "Do It Afraid". This is one of my life messages that I live and breathe by. As someone who has suffered from mild anxiety and low-self esteem from childhood... I can tell you that regularly... I Do It Afraid!
For me when a challenge is big I have two choices - say no, or do it afraid! Each time I have said no, my world has gotten smaller, my fear has gotten bigger and I have felt like I have tasted failure. Each time I have done it afraid, I have grown and felt empowered. The more empowered I have felt, the more likely I am to do it afraid next time.
But isn't it natural instinct to try and remove all fear that our children face? Perhaps, but what if we empowered them to take control, use the fear and overcome it? What if we helped them starting with little goals and little wins? All of a sudden the desire to grow, thrive and succeed is bigger than the fear holding them back. Pretty soon the adrenaline rush of facing their fears and winning is so big that they begin looking for the next big challenge.
I know that every situation is different and every child/teen faces unique challenges. But I want to encourage, perhaps even implore you, to lift the barre for our children (pun intended). Don't expect less and less from them in case they feel afraid. Empower, encourage and motivate them to live bigger and braver even if they do feel afraid.
Lots of Love