Childhood Anxiety :: How My Daughter (and Myself) Benefitted from a Counselor

A girl cries and rests her head on her arm on a chair.My child suffers from anxiety. I know childhood anxiety is common. But it was tough to manage my thoughts and feelings that came when she was diagnosed at six years old. 

My game-changer moment came when we were at an appointment and my daughter was visibly nervous and anxious about being there. Unfortunately the service provider we were seeing did not believe us and clearly lacked the patience to help her. Not having the support made the situation go from bad to worse. It showed me why learning her own emotions and anxieties needed to be a priority because I can’t always step in like the mama bear I was that day.

I realized I needed to look for expert guidance and advice — both for her and for me. My online searches for anxiety management techniques or child-rearing books weren’t going to cut it anymore. She needed an expert, and so did I.

While I knew reaching out to a counselor would be beneficial, I was not prepared for all of the wonderful surprises and life lessons introduced and taught to my daughter in each 50-minute session. These were lessons I wish I had learned way earlier in life.

Having Someone in Our Corner

It’s put my mind at ease knowing I have someone in my corner and in hers. You don’t know what you don’t know, and this is true for how I was trying to help her cope with her thoughts and feelings.

>> LISTEN :: Parenting Kids with Anxiety :: Momfessions Podcast :: Episode 48 <<

I felt at a loss as to how to talk to her teachers regarding ways to help make sure she is being set up for success at school or other places. The counselor was able to talk through scenarios for me and for my daughter to make sure her anxieties were being navigated in a helpful way.

My daughter still attends counseling to address her childhood anxiety, and it continues to help both of us at home and at school.

Understanding Her Feelings

Her time in counseling allows her to get her thoughts and feelings in a place where she can understand them. I’ve realize I’ve tried to protect her from her anxiety. Not only am I jumping in and saving her from situations that might trigger her, but I am also shielding her from really understanding herself and why she has certain feelings. I even push them aside in some cases. She was never able to articulate it because she isn’t even aware of it!

Allowing her to learn about herself is also allows her to be open with others. She understands that peers and adults might be having the same feelings. Allowing her to learn about herself is helping her become more of a compassionate person.

A young girl flexes her arm.

Learning to Ask for Helping and Knowing It’s Okay

Through her counseling, she is becoming her own advocate and owning it. Her counselor is giving her the opportunity to own her anxieties. It empowers herself when she can manage her feelings. Her counselor reiterates that my daughter’s feelings and thoughts are understandable, but it’s up to her to learn how to manage them on her own.

>> RELATED READ :: Addressing Childhood Anxiety <<

Most important, she is learning to ask for help. She is learning it’s okay to talk or rely on her management techniques to get her through a tough time. She has even asked me to talk to her teachers and set up conferences so we can all talk about ways she might need help.

She is learning to problem solve her own emotions and thoughts rather that being told directly what to think or what to say.

Sometimes it’s easy to go to an expert for our child such as haircuts, dentist or piano teacher. When it comes to mental health, especially for our kids, that can be a tough one to determine the right time to seek help. But in the long run, it creates a healthier mind for them AND for you. When in doubt, seek the expert.

Emily S
Emily is a 35+ year resident of Arlington, having only left for a brief time to attend Baylor University (Sic ‘em!). Her background in journalism/communications has allowed her to share her writing and editing experience in a variety of professional formats from hospitals and software companies to multiple non-profits. As a single mom of two girls, Madilyn (2009) and Camille (2012), she spends her time managing their various activities. When she gets her own time, she loves reading, cycling, and watching her long-time obsession -- the Golden Girls.

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