That knot in the pit of your stomach?
That hand squeezing your chest?
That voice telling you this is all going to go horribly wrong?
That is anxiety, my friends.
It’s hard enough to deal with that feeling of dread and worry in myself, but it’s heart breaking when my kids look up at me with big blue eyes full of worry and tears and tell me, “I just can’t do it, Mommy.”
Both of my boys have struggled with anxiety. My oldest was bullied in 2nd grade. The constant verbal assaults on him resulted in stomachaches, headaches, begging to be homeschooled, not sleeping, and going to the bathroom every 30 minutes. All are on the menu of classic symptoms of acute anxiety.
My youngest just seems to be a worrier. About once a week he comes out with some new thing to worry about. Currently his greatest worry is that he won’t make enough money from his art to support himself. He is 6.
My kids aren’t alone in being anxious worriers. Every child experiences some anxiety. Before tests. At concert performances. The first day at a new school.
Anxiety and nervousness are normal as long as it doesn’t get in the way of their everyday lives. Once that happens it’s time to seek some professional support.
So if your child is a worrier who does not need professional intervention, how can you help them process through these moments of chest-tightening, stomach churning worry and learn to lead a calmer, happier life?