What Do I Know About Anxiety?When I learned that we will be discussing anxiety in the Gifted blog hop, I was… well… anxious. The topic of anxiety is truly inexhaustible, since anxiety or worry affect different people in different ways. Even between me and my husband we tend to worry about different things. He tends to fret more about the past and how things could have been better/different. I am more prone to worry about the future and what might or might not happen. However, neither of us experienced crippling anxiety that would require some sort of attention from a specialist – just a normal “garden-variety” worry or performance anxiety, which, by the way, might even be good for you according to the latest research in the science of stress. Same applies to our 8 year old daughter – she dispels the myth that every gifted child must be especially sensitive, over-excitable, or anxious. Sure, she has moments when she is shy, worried, or stressed, but usually she is able to deal well with unexpected events or changes in the routine. Also, she performs quite well in test situations and actually enjoys tests as a chance to show off her abilities. Apparently, things that we do at home to help her cope with anxiety work well for her, and I am going to share our tips for handling anxiety in gifted kids with you.
Don’t Downplay Your Child’s IntelligenceSmarty is lucky. She has no reason to worry about things that often keep kids up at night – whether her parents will stay together or do we have enough money to afford something she needs. Her biggest worry for several years now is dying – her own dying or one of her parents dying. Interestingly, I remember the same worries creeping into my happy childhood as well, and they are hard to address, especially since we are not religious, so we cannot offer a “life after death” line of reasoning to soothe her concerns. Instead, we try to reason with her through her worries more or less following the famous serenity player.
Tip 1 – Ask, “Is It Likely”?
I think most children understand probability on some intuitive level, and we often discuss probability of certain events at home. For example, despite the newspaper headlines, the chances of a child being abducted by strangers is extremely small. So our usual response to What if we have an earthquake? or What if you die is to reply as confidently as we can that while this event is possible, it’s not likely. And even though “past performance doesn’t guarantee future results”, we point out to our daughter that our parents lived to an old age, so this also increases our own chances for not dying tomorrow.
Tip 2 – Ask “Can You Do Anything About It”?
We cannot do much about uncertainty, but powerlessness is a big contributor to anxiety. This is why we challenge our daughter to come up with practical steps to soothe her anxiety. Sometimes it can be as simple as cuddling with her favorite blanket or reading a book, sometimes we brainstorm ways to make the situation better. We also point to her all the ways in which we try to reduce risks in our lives – for example, by wearing life belts, eating well, going for medical check ups, etc.
What Else Can You Do For Anxious Children?I stumbled upon some great articles on anxiety in children that I would like to share with you:
- Helping Kids Cope with Anxiety from Mama Smiles: Joyful Parenting
- Calming Strategies at Home from Imperfect Families
- Anxiety in Kids from Hey Sigmund
- Soothing the Anxious Child from Mosswood Connections
How do you deal with anxiety in your family?
Hoagies Gifted Blog HopThis post was written as part of Hoagies Gifted Blog Hop series. Follow Hoagies Gifted on Facebook and join the conversation on anxiety in gifted kids.
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More on Gifted Topics:From my blog
- Dilemma of Gifted Testing
- Book Series About Gifted Children
- Game Recommendations for Brainy Kids
- Back to School for Gifted Learners
- Beyond Common Core – Math for Advanced Learners
- Gifted Advocacy for Beginners
- Why Brains Are Not Everything
- Should We Accelerate Our Gifted Child?