Help Your Child Handle Worry

iStock 000012076483SmallWe think they should have nothing to worry about since, let's face it, they don't have bills to pay, or traffic to fight. In reality, kids worry about a lot of things. Some are under their control — like getting good grades; and some things are not — like their parents' divorce. Excessive worry can even grow into a debilitating ailment like generalized anxiety disorder. Here are a few tips to help your child keep worry under control:

Help him figure out what's bothering him. The first step in tackling a problem is defining it. Perhaps he's worried a history teacher doesn't like him, but what's actually eating at him is a fear of doing poorly on a test. You can help make a plan to tackle the problem, with suggestions on study habits, or simply helping him put good grades in perspective.  

Urge her to write it down  — the problem and potential solutions. Sometimes seeing a problem in black and white can diffuse it; maybe even bring clarity and a solution. If your daughter is worried over a fight with a friend, encourage her to write down different ways she could remedy the situation. Brainstorming solutions with an objective party is a time-tested problem-solver.

Advise your child to seek help when he's worried. Whether it's a parent, older sibling, trusted adult, or school counselor, sharing your feelings can help, even if the solution is not within her control. Often, simply telling someone your worries has a way of easing anxiety.

By Deanna Franklin Campbell