As a parent, you’ll know better than anyone that life isn’t always easy. Kids and parents alike have emotional struggles, and whether you’re new to dealing with anxiety or you’ve experienced it yourself for a while, anxiety with kids in the mix can be a whole other ball game. As a mom, there are a lot of things you might need to know about anxiety, whether you are the one experiencing a bit of social anxiety or you’re noticing it in your child — or, whether you both have a bit of anxiety that needs some management.
While anxiety is a common experience, you can find techniques that can help you calm your nerves and adjust, and you can share those techniques with your child in order to improve their relationship with themself and the world around them. Anxiety functions differently in everyone, and no matter how you’re dealing with the newfound challenges, there are a few things you should know as a mom dealing with social anxiety.
It Can Happen to Anyone
You probably know this already, but anxiety can happen to literally anyone. While it’s actually common in young children — think about things like separation anxiety — parents can also experience it. Specifically, social anxiety can present itself in a variety of situations, because most stages in life require some level of social interaction.
Your Feelings Are Valid
Whether you’re the one with anxiety or your child’s anxiety has been causing some stress in your parenting journey, it’s important to remember that your feelings are valid and important. You need to honor your emotions just like you value those of your child. No matter how you’re feeling, remember that you’re okay and you can get through this.
Learning Your Child’s Behaviors
If your child is the one with social anxiety, It can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between a standard child temper tantrum and an anxiety attack, depending upon the child. Each child is vastly unique, which means that they each have their own needs, triggers and tells. When you learn the signals and tells that alert you to your child’s emotional state, it can be much easier to manage anxiety, especially in social situations.
Whether you are the one with anxiety, or it’s your child, learning and managing specific triggers can be the key to managing the anxiety you face as a whole. While social situations can’t ever be completely avoided, knowing what specific social situations cause the most stress can help you prepare ahead of time and reduce the risk of severe anxiety attacks.
Set Reasonable Expectations
Some people have an image in their head of what it means to get over social anxiety. Usually, that image involves being able to speak in front of crowds and be the life of the party without any kind of negative feeling or trigger. Simply put, this isn’t the case for everybody. Some people happen to be introverted, and some people will truly never be their most comfortable selves in social situations. This is why it can be so liberating to set reasonable expectations so that you or your child can explore and experience socialization without the pressure of high expectations.
Even when you aren’t experiencing a specific trigger or an anxiety attack, stress management techniques can be extremely helpful for both parent and child. This can even hold true regardless of which one of you is experiencing the social anxiety. In those moments when you are alone, having family time or just relaxing together, finding techniques to help you stay calm can be one of the best things you can do to manage anxiety in the long term, whether that anxiety is social or related to something else.
When it comes to stress reduction techniques, mindfulness is a great place to start. Simply put, mindfulness is the act of being present in your body and in the current moment. This can help calm the nervous system, reduce stress as well as create a healthy relationship with the self — which can be great for kids as they grow and develop, by the way.
One of the best ways to manage any kind of anxiety or negative feeling is to be open and honest about it. If your child is the person experiencing social anxiety, you can encourage them to be open and honest with you about it and remind them that they can come to you about anything. If you are the one experiencing social anxiety, you can try being open with the people around you so that they understand how you’re feeling. This can be hard, but you may find that it’s worth it, especially as open communication assists you in making more progress.
Moms and Social Anxiety
Social anxiety can be quite the hurdle for any family, whether the person experiencing that anxiety is you or your child. But no matter what, there are ways to get through every struggle. From the open communication techniques you can build to the reduction of stress through mindfulness, you don’t have to let anxiety rule your family.