Coping Skills for Children with Anxiety – 5 Suggested Methods

Smiling familyAs celebrity Johnny Depp once said, “When kids hit one year old, it’s like hanging out with a miniature drunk. You have to hold onto them. They bump into things. They laugh and cry. They urinate. They vomit”.

While this certainly makes the art of parenting sound less glamorous, but it is a fact of life that parents have to take care of their children and clean up after them from the time they were born into the world. It is a noble and challenging task, and the scale of difficulties rises when the children have anxiety.

Nonetheless, as what American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead says, “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think”. Instead of relying on the parents to shelter and pamper their children, how about imparting some skills to teach the children to cope with anxiety and overcome it themselves?

Here are five suggested coping skills for children with anxiety:

1. Develop Self-confidence in the child

It is important to develop the child’s personal strength and confidence. How do you do that? Showering a child with compliments is one effective way. Whenever the child does something right, do remember to shower her with compliments as a form of encouragement for the child to continue such good behavior. In contrast, avoid using punishments because it may worsen the child’s anxiety.

2. Enhance the child’s independence

While it is only natural for parents to take care of their child, it is advisable not to take charge in everything and make the decisions all the time. By allowing the child a certain level of independence to do certain things on his or her own, it reflects trust and will develop the child’s confidence and independence that will help to alleviate the anxiety. Parents can only consider leaving the child alone for short intervals of about 15 minutes, to build up the child’s independence and comfort level in being alone. The interval can be increased gradually.

3. Encourage proactive problem-solving skills

Instead of helping the child by taking care of everything, from de-boning fish to sharpening of coloring pencils, how about giving the child the opportunity to solve such problems?

For example, when the coloring pencils become blunt, instead of sharpening them secretly without the child’s knowledge in the middle of the night, parents can wait for the child to take the initiative to go up to them to ask about the blunt colouring pencils before teaching them how to use a pencil sharpener.

4. Provide stress relievers

Parents can consider introducing their children to activities which may help to alleviate their anxiety or relieve their stress. These activities can vary, depending on the individual. Some of these activities can be sports such as cycling or dancing, listening to music, drawing, keeping personal diaries or building blocks.

5. Set up a routine for day-to-day activities

Sometimes, anxiety may arise if the child is not prepared for certain tasks. Thus, keeping a routine for day-to-day activities may facilitate in ensuring that the child is prepared to accomplish the various tasks or activities required. By following a planned schedule or a constant routine, the child is aware of the list of activities in store for him or her.

Teen Depression and Anxiety – 5 Signs to Take Note

teen depressionDepression and anxiety are common mental problems faced by teenagers today. As they go through the challenges, be it from puberty or from pressure at home or in school, some setbacks might push them over the edge.

If the signs remain undetected, the condition may worsen, leading to dire consequences to the extent of committing suicide.

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by intense, negative emotions or feelings which impact lives and influence behavior. It is one of the most common mental health disorders and is often accompanied by feelings of anxiety.

While occasional melancholy or bouts of tantrums are nothing out of the ordinary, how can you tell if there is more than meets the eye? What are some of the signs that suggest that a teenager whom you know may be having depression?

Here are five signs to take note:

1. Disinterest in socializing

Does the teenager seem disinterested in socializing and prefer to stay in his room the whole day behind a closed door? Majority of the teenagers tend to be active in seeking out social activities, preferring to hang out with their peers. Hence, if the teenager appears to be disinterested in all kinds of social activities and even seems to distance himself or herself from family or school gatherings, do take note. It might be a sign.

2. Change in eating habits

Does the teenager display a drastic change in eating habits? For example, is he or she eating a lot more, or a lot less than usual? Stress or unhappiness can change a person’s eating habits. Also, as children grow to become teenagers, they start to become aware of their physical appearances and can be more sensitive towards negative comments from others. If a teenager starts to undergo a drastic change in eating habits, it might be a sign of depression.

3. Mood swings, hostility or tantrums

Does the teenager seem to be exhibiting mood swings? Does he or she seem to be easily irritated or hostile indiscriminately? If the teenager is constantly showing signs of irritation, hostility, extreme mood swings (eg: fluctuating between being very crestfallen to being very jubilant or amused over trivial matters) and throws tantrums often, this might be a red flag.

4. Negative sentiments

Do you often hear negative statements from the teenager? For example, negative comments such as “It might be good for the world to end” or “If I die, the world will continue to live on” might be a reflection of the depressing thoughts which the teenager is currently going through.

5. Constant complains of physical ailments

Does the teenager seem to be taking sick leave often from reasons of physical ailments such as headache or stomachache? If you are hearing such complains on a regular basis, this might be a sign of depression. The teenager might be trying to avoid going to school.

Depression might also influence the teenager in other areas. For example, it might affect his or her performance at school. He or she might also develop a tendency towards violence or reckless behavior. If such signs are detected in a teen whom you might know, do seek medical advise and counselling tips.

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