worry & anxiety in
when you are feeling anxious, remember that you are still you. you are not your anxiety. - deanne repich
Things you can say to your tween
“What are 5 things you can see right now? What are 4 things you can touch right now? What are 3 things you can hear right now? What are 2 things you can smell right now? What is 1 thing you can taste right now” (5-4-3-2-1 coping technique - give time for them to talk through each one).
"What is the disaster movie that you are creating in your mind?"
Believe the fear they are expressing. Do not dismiss it or minimize it. "So you are saying that you are worried because _________ (repeat what they said exactly). Let's play out this fear. What would be the worst thing that would happen if this fear came true? (Most the time they will say something about dying. Remind them about all the ways that they can be helped before they would actually die)."
"You are having anxiety. It will pass and it will not last forever."
Anxiety and worry is real. It is internal and it does not always show up externally. Anxiety and worry will show up like an unexplained outburst, a fight with you or a sibling, or not wanting to go to school or a social event, etc. Extra love and patience is needed for your tween. Their brains are making up all kinds of stories in their head. When your tween is having anxiety, the first thing you want to do is help them to calm, take deep breathes, and talk about what is going on in their head. Speaking the fear out loud takes the power of the fear away.
Strategies to try at home
Designate a space for your tween to be calm. Include a feelings journal and other calming tools.
Your tween's brain is running and it needs to be in a state of calm. There are great meditation apps or even free meditation videos on YouTube.
Have your tween keep a feelings journal. A lot of the times your tween doesn't know what they are feeling. Identifying the feeling will allow them to pick a coping strategy to deal with the feeling.