Lessons I Learned From My Anxious Child
So there we were. Our son standing on the edge of the pool, about to jump in, and it hit. He was having a total meltdown! I mean full on trembling, tears, snot…LOSING IT! I was helplessly watching my anxious child.
Now, he had jumped into the pool countless times before, but somehow this time was different. He was absolutely full of anxiety and fear over the thought of jumping.
I wish that I could tell you how patient I was, and that I deserved an award for being an awesome mommy during that moment. Unfortunately, that is not the case, but I did learn something from the experience… so there is that! 😉
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This is not the first time our son has had anxiety hit him, at what appear to be strange moments. Through the years of being his mommy I have been able to figure out some of his triggers, loud noises, large crowds, etc., but sometimes there is just no tangible rhyme or reason to his meltdowns.
It can be so incredibly frustrating, to not just be able to FIX IT! I mean, that’s my job, that’s what I do best…#mynameismama.
So instead of staying calm I did absolutely everything wrong! I was dismissive, I was laughing to lighten his mood, and most importantly I did not truly listen to what my son was saying to me. Yep, that was me! #MomFail
We got out of the pool, and had what would be considered a pretty lousy rest of the evening. My son was really shaken, and I was feeling totally crappy as a mom.
Later that evening, when it was time for bed, and I couldn’t sleep. Hmmm…I wonder why? It hit me! I like to call them God’s whispers. 🙂
Every single thing that I could have done to turn that entire situation around was laid out before me. What steps I should have taken, how I could have kept myself calm, and the big one…I needed to apologize to my son!
You see I myself have struggled with moments of anxiety. AND, here is the big kicker…it typically happens doing something that I have done a million times before, and I freeze! I get very overwhelmed in that moment, and there really isn’t any explanation.
I also know that in the moments that I feel anxiety, being dismissive of my feelings, or laughing at me would in no way help me to come out of it.
I want to encourage my child to FEEL, and to never ever feel less than for any of it!
So through my A-ha moment of clarity, a discussion, and a heartfelt apology with my son, I wanted to share with you the lessons I learned from my anxious child.
Stay calm mama
Mama, I know it’s hard. You see your baby hurting and terrified, and you CAN’T fix it! It is the most helpless feeling ever, and you are feeling pretty low. But, mama keep breathing.
Your energy and essence are feeding your child with anxiety right now. They really need you to stay calm and present with them in these moments. Maintain eye contact, and breathe with them…through all of it.
Sometimes those little spirits just need to get it out. If you have ever had anxiety, then you know the constant rolodex of thoughts cycling through your mind.
Listen to them, and truly hear what they are saying. Acknowledge their thoughts, and let them know that you are there and hear them.
If your child in that moment wants to be held go for it! Hold them tight mama, and embrace them.
Please note: They may not want to be held during a full on anxiety attack, so I would definitely ask them first. But, rest assured when it passes, they will fall in your arms.
They Are Not Alone
It’s important to let your child know that they are not alone. Reassure your child that you are not going anywhere, and that you will be right by their side.
Anxiety can feel very isolating, and knowing that they are not alone through these overwhelming feelings can be very reassuring.
This Too Shall Pass
Mama, this moment will not last forever. It may feel like it, but I assure you it won’t!
You have done everything you can, and your child knows this. Just keep being your awesome self, and you will get through it together!
Being a mom is so incredibly hard. And not being perfect ALL.THE.TIME can be downright infuriating!
But, you know what? Thank God we are given grace! Grace to start another day, grace to start over, and grace to try again!
I am so grateful that I learned something beautiful from my complete #MomFail, and turned it into a total #MomWin. 🙂
I truly hope that these lessons help you, and if you are struggling with a child with anxiety…please know that you are not ALONE! XO
I love how you have written this. Thank you for the tips as well.
Thank you so much for reading! I am so happy that you found it helpful! XO
Thank you so much for sharing this! I suffer from anxiety and for the longest time, I didn’t even know what was happening to me. It took me a long time to understand, well into my adult life. So I think that even though it might not be easy, it’s still so important that you as his mother understand what’s going on and can help him understand too. Sometimes just knowing what’s going on with yourself helps too. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to write this at first so thank you for sharing, I’m sure this will be helpful to other moms. 🙂
Thank you so much for reading! I am so sorry that you have suffered with anxiety. It is no fun at all! thank you for your incredibly kind words, and I truly hope that my understanding can lead him to a place of calm. We mamas are in this together! XO
Thanks for sharing your experience. I am not a mom yet and I can’t even begin to imagine how tough it must get for you sometimes. But, like you said, God’s grace is with you and you are a wonderful mom 🙂
Thank you for reading! It can be very difficult, but I am so incredibly grateful for grace to have the chance to try again! Thank you so very much for your kind words, and I hope you have a great day! XO
Yes! Very well written and on point post! I completely agree with the need for us to apologize to our children because a. It’s the right thing to do and b. It’s such a great example for our kids that we are not perfect, but God is, and He renews his mercies for us every day! ? Such a powerful post. Keep it up!
Thanks so much for you sweet and kind words! I am so incredibly grateful for His Grace! XO
Thanks for sharing your experience! It is so hard to see your child struggling. It is always helpful for me as a parent, to hear about other parents experiences and things they have learned along the way.
Thank you so much for reading! Parenting is so tough, but it is so nice to know that we are all in it together. XO
I can so relate! God’s whispers – yes, looking back and knowing you could have handled the situation so much better! But fortunately we are given new chances every new day. And luckily children are very forgiving – I’ve had to apologize many times. I love your post. It’s so true – it helps children so much when we acknowledge their thoughts and feelings, listen to them, letting them know they’re not alone in this. Thank you for your thoughts!
Thank you so much for reading! You have no idea how much your kind words mean to me! Children really are so easy to forgive, another life lesson they teach me daily. 🙂 Thanks so much! XO
It is so difficult raising an anxious child! I was one but back then we were disciplined for our excess energy. Now days, there is a bit more understanding of why some kids are more anxious as well as support for the parents.
Man it is super tough! I really try not to discipline, but instead teach coping skills. Thanks so much for reading! XO
I agree being a mom can be tough but you are right— we have been given grace to try again and be blessed in a new day 🙂
Thank goodness we are given grace! Thank you for reading! XO
Thank you for sharing your experience. My grown daughter now has anxiety and I am sure some of these tips I can use with her.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope these can help with you daughter too! Being a mom is so hard sometimes. XO
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