Dr Siggie Cohen suggests trying an alternative approach to engage with an anxious person while building their trust.
Many people are out to educate people about the concept of anxiety and how to tackle it. While it is a mental health issue, it is something that many go through and is nothing to be ashamed about. It’s not just adults who go through anxiety, but also children. Just like their symptoms and effects differ from adults, dealing with their anxiety also requires a different approach. Dr. Siggie Cohen, a parenting expert who goes on TikTok by @parenting.with.dr.siggie, shared her insights on anxiety and how to tackle the same among children. In her video, she explained how it works and how it can be countered.
She began by explaining the basic concept of anxiety and cleared a misunderstanding many people have. Cohen said, “We often think the opposite of anxiety is calm.” She then pointed out how many people use terms like “calm down” or “breathe” when someone is experiencing restlessness. “The opposite of anxiety is trust. Trust in others, trust in ourselves and even in general,” the expert said. Elaborating further, she explained, “Anxiety is based on the unknown. It triggers helplessness and codependency. Meanwhile, trust is based on knowledge, trust and reliance.” Adding an example, Cohen mentioned how one is much more composed when one trusts something or someone.
She described it as a “grounding feeling.” “That’s the opposite of anxiety,” she said. Cohen then shared how one can help a child build that feeling of trust when they’re feeling anxious. “With a pause,” the expert said before explaining, “Don’t rush to answer every word for your child. Don’t automatically fill in the blanks.” Cohen suggested pausing before responding to children in their anxious state and making them feel heard and seen. “Hmm, I hear you. I see that you’re worried,” is a potential response the expert suggested. She then added a few tips to enhance one’s response when communicating with an anxious child.
Cohen first suggested pausing to reflect. “I also feel that way sometimes,” she said as an example. The next tip was to halt and engage. By using phrases like, “Can you tell me more?” The expert then recommended pausing to help kids recognize their capabilities, which would act like a booster. “I wonder what you think you can do. What would you like to do?” Cohen said while sharing an example. Lastly, she suggested pausing to encourage the child proactively. “Let’s think about this. I trust that you can. I trust that we can figure this out,” she said.
As parents, people try their best to calm their children down during anxious moments. However, the idea is to shift the approach from calming to engaging and developing a sense of trust. Using the term trust and inviting the child to think helps break their train of thought and divert their attention to a positive track.
Several parents were grateful for the measure suggested by Cohen. Many even figured that the insights helped adults with anxiety too. @eplingr said, “I needed this. Not the best parent today with my anxious kiddo. Tomorrow is another day.” @paislibu said, “This is profound advice. I have suffered from anxiety all my life and this hits home.”
View this post on Instagram