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Why Asking Your Anxious Child Why They Are Scared Is So Damaging

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Why Asking Your Anxious Child Why They Are Scared Is So Damaging

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Why Asking Your Anxious Child Why They Are Scared Is So Damaging

The video explains the question many parents ask their anxious child that actually does more damage than good.

Your child’s fear can be tough to overcome, especially when you don’t know what’s driving it. That’s what causes parents to make the second big mistake in helping an anxious child.

That is, asking your child why they’re afraid. And more specifically, asking why they’re afraid is more harmful than asking what they’re afraid of. But there’s more to it than that.

You don’t actually always need to know the source of the fear.

You just need to give your child the skills to cope with it and take charge of situations which scare them.

To help you understand this and better help your child, I’ve recorded the video below to explain this concept in more detail. More importantly, you’ll learn what to do instead to help your child manage their fear:

In today’s content-only video, below, you’ll learn the three steps to follow to help your child feel better and more in control. Not only will this help them with their current fears, but it sets them up with valuable skills they can implement throughout life.

Anxious Child Mistake #2:

Hello, it’s Sue Stevenson here. Today I want to talk to you about one mistake out of five that parents often make when their child is anxious. We’ll cover Mistakes 2-5 over the coming weeks, and just focus on Mistake #1 today.

So today's mistake is that parents often ask their child why they're scared.

Do you have a child who's scared of things that aren't even scary to you or to most other people and it makes no sense to you?

You've asked them why they're scared and they're not telling you. It's so incredibly frustrating because you know that if you knew why they feel like that, you might be able to help them overcome their fear.

But here's the thing…

…your child most likely doesn't even know why they feel so scared. Because if they knew they'd be answering your question and they'd likely be a lot closer to overcoming their problem.

If you don't know why your child's scared, chances are that they don't know either.

So instead of wasting any more time and energy on trying to understand why your child is scared, I want you to follow these three steps.

Step 1: Stop Asking Why

The first step is stop asking your child why they're scared.

Asking your child why they feel scared can make them feel even worse because they tend to feel stupid and ashamed and helpless in these situations. And trust me, they're not being deliberately difficult.

They'd love nothing more than to feel confident and safe. They certainly don't want to feel scared and they desperately want the fear to go away.

The key here is to stop worrying about why it's happening and to move forward toward a solution.

Step 2: Empathy

Now the second thing I want you to do is I want you to show your child empathy. And I'm not talking about sympathy here where we treat our children like victims. I'm talking about showing empathy by being able to put yourself in your child's shoes.

So think of a time when you were scared, anxious or nervous, yet you weren't at risk of danger.

Perhaps you were scared of having a difficult conversation with your partner or a work colleague. Or you may have been scared of speaking in front of an audience. Or maybe, like me, you were scared of spiders or doing exams.

Put simply, we are more understanding and more patient with our kids when we get some sense of what it's like for them when they're feeling scared, nervous, or anxious.

Step 3: Imagination

Thirdly, instead of imagining how awful it is in those scary moments, help your child imagine themselves taking charge of the scary situation.

You see, our mind can picture ourselves succeeding at doing anything. And when we can do that, our mind believes it's possible.

So I want you to start helping your child create an image of themselves confidently going to bed on their own or saying goodbye to you at the gate, then happily walking into school. And the more detail in the image, the more real and believable it becomes in your child's mind.

Get them to describe exactly what they're doing step by step, how they're feeling, and what's happening around them while they're doing this activity with full confidence.

I've seen many kids go from experiencing massive separation anxiety to going into school with total confidence using this strategy.

Step 3: Summing It All Up

So just to sum up here, here's what you need to do.

Firstly, stop asking your child why they feel scared. This isn't helping and it is probably making things worse.

Secondly, show your child empathy by putting yourself in their shoes. Think of a time when you were anxious and how that felt for you.

Then thirdly, help your child to imagine themselves doing the activity that currently scares them, but with no fear at all. They need to create a clear picture in their mind so they see themselves doing it with full confidence.

Now, what I've shared with you today can be completely game changing. So I want you to implement these three steps as soon as possible so your child starts believing that they really can take charge in situations that used to scare them.

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Sunday, May 26, 2024

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Having experienced anxiety personally as a child and parent, along with raising two anxious kids, working in the school system, and my own business supporting hundreds of anxious kids and their parents, I’ve seen and experienced what works and what doesn’t.

Your child’s fear can be tough to overcome, especially when you don’t know what’s driving it. That’s what causes parents to make the second big mistake in helping an anxious child.

That is, asking your child why they’re afraid. And more specifically, asking why they’re afraid is more harmful than asking what they’re afraid of. But there’s more to it than that.

You don’t actually always need to know the source of the fear.

You just need to give your child the skills to cope with it and take charge of situations which scare them.

To help you understand this and better help your child, I’ve recorded the video below to explain this concept in more detail. More importantly, you’ll learn what to do instead to help your child manage their fear:

In today’s content-only video, below, you’ll learn the three steps to follow to help your child feel better and more in control. Not only will this help them with their current fears, but it sets them up with valuable skills they can implement throughout life.

Anxious Child Mistake #2:

Hello, it’s Sue Stevenson here. Today I want to talk to you about one mistake out of five that parents often make when their child is anxious. We’ll cover Mistakes 2-5 over the coming weeks, and just focus on Mistake #1 today.

So today's mistake is that parents often ask their child why they're scared.

Do you have a child who's scared of things that aren't even scary to you or to most other people and it makes no sense to you?

You've asked them why they're scared and they're not telling you. It's so incredibly frustrating because you know that if you knew why they feel like that, you might be able to help them overcome their fear.

But here's the thing…

…your child most likely doesn't even know why they feel so scared. Because if they knew they'd be answering your question and they'd likely be a lot closer to overcoming their problem.

If you don't know why your child's scared, chances are that they don't know either.

So instead of wasting any more time and energy on trying to understand why your child is scared, I want you to follow these three steps.

Step 1: Stop Asking Why

The first step is stop asking your child why they're scared.

Asking your child why they feel scared can make them feel even worse because they tend to feel stupid and ashamed and helpless in these situations. And trust me, they're not being deliberately difficult.

They'd love nothing more than to feel confident and safe. They certainly don't want to feel scared and they desperately want the fear to go away.

The key here is to stop worrying about why it's happening and to move forward toward a solution.

Step 2: Empathy

Now the second thing I want you to do is I want you to show your child empathy. And I'm not talking about sympathy here where we treat our children like victims. I'm talking about showing empathy by being able to put yourself in your child's shoes.

So think of a time when you were scared, anxious or nervous, yet you weren't at risk of danger.

Perhaps you were scared of having a difficult conversation with your partner or a work colleague. Or you may have been scared of speaking in front of an audience. Or maybe, like me, you were scared of spiders or doing exams.

Put simply, we are more understanding and more patient with our kids when we get some sense of what it's like for them when they're feeling scared, nervous, or anxious.

Step 3: Imagination

Thirdly, instead of imagining how awful it is in those scary moments, help your child imagine themselves taking charge of the scary situation.

You see, our mind can picture ourselves succeeding at doing anything. And when we can do that, our mind believes it's possible.

So I want you to start helping your child create an image of themselves confidently going to bed on their own or saying goodbye to you at the gate, then happily walking into school. And the more detail in the image, the more real and believable it becomes in your child's mind.

Get them to describe exactly what they're doing step by step, how they're feeling, and what's happening around them while they're doing this activity with full confidence.

I've seen many kids go from experiencing massive separation anxiety to going into school with total confidence using this strategy.

Step 3: Summing It All Up

So just to sum up here, here's what you need to do.

Firstly, stop asking your child why they feel scared. This isn't helping and it is probably making things worse.

Secondly, show your child empathy by putting yourself in their shoes. Think of a time when you were anxious and how that felt for you.

Then thirdly, help your child to imagine themselves doing the activity that currently scares them, but with no fear at all. They need to create a clear picture in their mind so they see themselves doing it with full confidence.

Now, what I've shared with you today can be completely game changing. So I want you to implement these three steps as soon as possible so your child starts believing that they really can take charge in situations that used to scare them.

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Recent blogs:

Proud Mum Moment From Depressed and Anxious Child to Archie Finalist

Sunday, June 30, 2024

I am incredibly honored and thrilled to share a heartwarming story of transformation, resilience, and artistic achievement that encapsulates the essence of what we do at U-Turn Anxiety. This journey is particularly special as it demonstrates the profound impact of empowering the parents who then become the drivers of the change they wish to see in their home.

Don’t Let Anxiety Rule - Let Your Child Reclaim Their Power!

Sunday, June 16, 2024

As parents, it's natural to want to protect our children from anything that causes them distress or pain. When our kids struggle with anxiety, our instinct is often to soothe them and try to make the anxious feelings go away. However, what if I told you that this approach can actually reinforce anxiety long-term?

Your Anxious Child Doesn't Need Therapy

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Having experienced anxiety personally as a child and parent, along with raising two anxious kids, working in the school system, and my own business supporting hundreds of anxious kids and their parents, I’ve seen and experienced what works and what doesn’t.

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