This week we welcome Buffy Curtin as a guest author!
Anxiety. On average, I field around 5-10 emails a week asking for support around issues of anxiety. Whether it's socially or academically, the panic from parents in how to support their child in navigating the uncomfortable dread of a friendship issue or looming test is palpable. I often see well meaning efforts to calm or diminish anxiety backfire. In an effort to shield our children from difficult feelings or disappointment, we may be doing them a disservice. After all, I think we all can relate to a moment when anxiety fueled us to get out of our comfort zone, get a new job, move, or make much needed changes. Anxiety, in healthy doses, may help us acknowledge what we value and nudge us towards creating a life built around those values.
However, anxiety, left unsupported or worse, encouraged, may carry through into adulthood, making it difficult or debilitating to live life fully. As a parent of two small children, I find myself questioning whether or not my efforts to quell my daughter's anxiety about birthday parties or upset stomachs are helping or harming. When faced with her fears, I often revert to my 7 year old self-- nervous about all the same things. I find this is common among parents. In my years doing this work, when presented with a child who is struggling, there is almost always a parent tearfully sharing that they too had the same challenges as a child.
Helping our kids understand and manage anxiety can be, ironically, anxiety-producing. But it doesn't have to be. There are strategies to help in those difficult parenting moments, especially when our child's anxiety triggers our own fears and insecurities. In an effort to start the conversation in our community of how to help our children (and ourselves) manage life's anxiety, I am leading a book group discussion around the book Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents: 7 Ways to Stop the Worry Cycle and Raise Courageous and Independent Children. Here is a preview of the author Lynn Lyons discussing her work. The Lower School book group will meet on March 7 from 6:00-7:30pm, and the Middle School book group will meet on March 14 from 6:00-7:30pm.
If you are interested in joining the discussion and haven't already emailed Karin Frissell, please email me. I have a limited copies of the book available to those with need.