Why are our kids so darn anxious??
Updated: Nov 25, 2020
Recent data shows that 30% of teens (ages 13-18) are struggling with an anxiety disorder, and that's just what's reported. How many more kids are walking around tortured by their anxiety and not talking about it? Why are our kids plagued with so much anxiety?
The pressures kids face today are beyond anything we could ever comprehend.
Actually, we are all going through some serious emotional turmoil right now (today has been a tough day for me. HUMAN). We feel up and down, angry and joyful, grateful and frustrated, slowing down and overwhelmed, trusting and afraid and sometimes all of these things at once.
Our kids are experiencing the same roller coaster of emotions. The difference is they don't have the same tools and regulation skills that we have (or can learn about) to understand and manage these intense feelings. They turn to us for guidance, reassurance and a safe space to release all those heavy feelings.
As a parent, it can make you feel helpless when your child cries that he misses his friends, that she is sad that she won't have her school play or graduation, that he feels overwhelmed being trapped inside, that she's upset she had to end her year overseas so abruptly, that he's scared hearing about all the illness and death in the world. When they are melting down, irritable or talking back it can make you feel powerless and confused.
It feels even more difficult when you haven't allowed yourself to experience these feelings unconditionally and without judgement.
It's important that you give yourself time and space for ALL feelings including the sad, angry, scared feelings. Let them come, let them go. Don't push them away. It will help you to be better equipped to handle their storm of emotions.
Make sure negative emotions are just as welcome as the positive ones for you and your loved ones. The more familiar feelings and emotions are, the less bad and scary they feel. Forgive yourself for your unglamorous parenting moments. There is more room for empathy and understanding when we are in touch with and aware of the protective function of our own emotional responses.
If we want to be able to safely and effectively hold space for our kids emotions, we have to give ourselves the same courtesy.
All feelings are good feelings.
Show yourself compassion.
And remember, we are all learning. 💜💜💜