Keep Calm and Carry On!
I recently read an article titled “Coping Skills For Anxious Times” that spoke about confronting anxiety rather than accommodating or avoiding it. For young people today, feelings of anxiety and worry are common and I suspect they always have been. The difference seems to be that today some children and young people are increasingly finding anxiety to be “excessive, intrusive and disruptive.” This is happening in ways that can compromise their ability to learn and function at school. Experts tell us that, left unaddressed, anxiety often leads to depression in young adulthood.
We are facing a situation where anxiety is reaching concerning levels and experts are struggling to identify why. There is so much focus on ‘culture’ as the cause of anxiety and little recognition that we’re the culture. We create and give meaning to culture and we are largely responsible for our changing culture. The world has changed, with the pervasive influence of technology and the overwhelming amounts of information that parents and kids have to deal with and an increased focus on danger in our world. However, the important aspects of life remain constant.
Each of us, adult and child alike, needs to feel valued and loved. We have a need to feel part of a community and we all need people we can rely on around us. Mostly our children need good supportive role models and that‘s where parents do the most good. Parents have the challenge and responsibility of modelling the behaviours and coping skills that their kids need to cope with anxiety and the good news is school can help.
As adults we need to keep calm in the midst of constant reports of danger, often self-imposed academic pressure, and the pervasive fear of the missing out mentality that stems from technology and social media. We need to teach our children to cope and manage worry and to accept it as part of life. We can’t eliminate these issues from children’s lives as doing so doesn’t allow them to develop the coping skills to live as fully formed adults.
Similarly, we need to work in partnership with school to help anxious kids by using shared approaches, coping mechanisms and goals for these children.If your child is facing anxiety, recognising it and addressing it is a vital first step. This is where schools and external support services can help, however parents need to act early and decisively.
For parents there is great wisdom in that often used phrase “keep calm and carry on.”However, it is often easier said than done.
Back to All Articles