HOW TO HELP FAMILIES DEAL WITH ANXIETY (Part 4 of 4)
As Ministry to Parents wraps up the series on anxiety, we close with two moms who bravely answer our questions on the subject. As church leaders, you may or may not have insight into a parent’s personal journey with anxiety. So we offer you How to Help Families Deal with Anxiety: A Mom’s Struggle, a resource to help foster empathy and inspiration.
~ ~ ~
A MOM’S STRUGGLE
When did you first notice you struggled with anxiety?
#1: I now know as an adult, I dealt with anxiety as a child. My anxiety became full-blown in adulthood (the 30s).
#2: I finally understood I had anxiety around my late 30’s, but its’ symptoms have been present since early childhood.
What did your symptoms look like?
#1: My symptoms are feeling intensely right all over my body, sweaty, stomach issues.
#2: My heart begins to race, and I can’t think clearly or logically. I often find I will go to extremes: retreat and withdraw or grow overexcited.
How does it affect you with your job? What about marriage? Parenting?
#1: It is a must for me to practice my tools daily. Anxiety affects my job, marriage, and parenting.
#2: I find I can be set off with certain triggers. Sometimes it is relational, and other times it is the environment like a room with lots of noise.
Do you have strategies in place to help when you notice the anxiety?
#1 I have tools in place to help me deal, journaling, breathing, pilates, praying- getting my body moving.
#2 Yes, my therapist taught me how to notice when I feel the anxiety coming forth. I practice breathing techniques and a method called 5-4-3-2-1. Sometimes I have to remove myself from the environment to ground myself.
Do any of your children struggle with anxiety? If so, how does that work alongside yours?
#1 I believe all my family deals with anxiety on some level. This can be a real issue because we can play off each other before we know what’s happening.
#2 Yes, my children struggle with anxiety, each in their own way. One internals their anxiety while the other externalizes. My husband, too. He internalizes while I externalize.
Any motherly wisdom or advice you can offer parents to share with their anxious children?
#1 Helping children feel normal and loved is most important when teaching them about anxiety.
#2 I would offer kindness to yourself first as a parent. You are not alone. There are others like us out there. Second, teach your child how to offer kindness to themselves and let them know they are not alone. Third, find a way to get help, whether it be through a church, school, or a parenting online resource.
~ ~ ~
IF YOU MISSED IT
If you’ve missed other parts of the “How to Help Families Deal with Anxiety” series, just click the links below.
PART 2 & 3 (Make sure to download your freebie!)
M2P Members, grab your resource How Anxiety Affects the Home and What to Do About (9 handouts for your families) in the Toolbox: Help Parents Lead.
A BIG thank you to Jason Gibson, from parent.tv and @lunchwithjason_ for providing M2P Members, Blog Readers, and Podcast Listeners with beneficial and timely material on anxiety. If you want to give your parents a quick and easy support system, just send them over to @lunchwithjason_ where he created an Instagram channel to offer parents free, practical, and quick parenting ideas for real life.