How Parents Can Help
How can parents help their children to cope with anxiety? Anxiety treatment isn’t only for the teen. Even though individual counseling and group therapy with their peers can help your teen to overcome anxiety and thrive, you need help too. Take a look at what parents need to know about their role in the therapeutic process and how you can get help for yourself.
Get the Basics
The first step to helping your child is understanding what anxiety is. If this is your first experience dealing with an anxiety disorder or you just don’t feel like you know as much as you should, you will need some basic education.
Even though it’s not always easy to admit that you don’t know everything about what your child is going through, it’s common for parents to need help learning about mental health and mental illnesses. After all, you aren’t a trained, licensed counselor and don’t have a degree in psychology. Go easy on yourself and give yourself time to learn about anxiety symptoms and the treatment options.
While the Internet and books can provide you with plenty of information, you need to make sure the sources you choose are authoritative. Anyone can call themselves an expert and create a blog or author an article. If you aren’t sure where to start or how to get the help you need to help your child, contact a professional who specializes in anxiety disorders.
Take a Workshop
In-person training from a professional with extensive experience in treating teens with anxiety disorders and working with parents and families can help you to learn more about this disease, symptoms to watch out for, treatment options, and ways to support your child at home.
Choose a workshop (or a few workshops) that focus on themes close to your heart or that can help you to overcome obstacles on the road to your child’s treatment. The types of workshops available to parents vary by organization or mental health treatment facility. Specific themes or content could include anything from how school impacts teen anxiety to ways parents can support therapy or therapeutic approaches.
Take Another Workshop
You won’t learn everything there is to know about teen anxiety in one workshop. If you find that this format is helpful and provides useful information that you can or have already put into practice, find and register for more workshops.
The more in-person training sessions you attend, the better equipped you are to help your child. Not only will you get information from excerpts in the area of anxiety, these activities provide you with a way to connect with other parents who are going through a similar situation.
Get Support for Yourself
Your focus is on your child right now. But this doesn’t mean you have to forget about self-care. You can’t help your teen if you feel lost, depressed, or out of control. If you are struggling to cope with your child’s diagnosis or find it challenging to help them, talk to a professional. Individual or group counseling can help you through this time.
Not only can a professional help you to work through the powerful emotions parents often feel, but they can also provide relaxation strategies, help you to learn how to communicate in effective ways, and introduce you to a network of therapeutic services that can help your family right now and in the future.
If you aren’t sure where parents can find support or therapy for themselves, talk to your child’s therapist or therapeutic staff. Your teen’s therapist may connect you to resources for parents or have recommendations for adult counselors who work with families.
Does your child need help to overcome an anxiety disorder? Contact the Anxiety Institute for more information.