TIP of the WEEK: Living with Anxiety

April 25, 2014

 

Anxiety and PWS go hand in hand. Our kids live every day battling anxiety that ranges from mild to crippling depending on the situation. Even the most anxious child in the most stress provoking situation can rise above and face their fears.
1. Set an example. Kid do what we do. They watch everything and learn by modeling. If we avoid stressful situations or cope with anxiety by isolating or acting inappropriately, so will they. If our kids see us facing our fears and coping with stress with strength and confidence they will have template to follow.
2. Praise bravery. Every time you witness your child being brave, even in the smallest way, point it out and praise, praise, praise. Let your child overhear you talking about them facing a challenging situation because too often they overhear not so nice things being said. Remind them of how brave they were the next time a similar situation arises.
3. Avoid making excuses for poor behavior ( in front of them). We know that there will be bad days but don’t let your child hear you say that their behavior was a result of anxiety/PWS/lack of internal control, whatever the cause may have been. Making excuses for the behavior allows your child to relinquish all accountability.
4. Encourage communication. Talking about anxiety, what triggers it for your  child, how it makes him or her feel, and what lessens it are all ways to find the pattern, start to pinpoint where and when it starts and most importantly, how to help them relax in the moment.
5. Establish a nighttime routine. Bedtime is often difficult because it is one of the biggest transitions of the day and forces the child to relinquish all control. At least one hour before bed turn off tv’s and computers. Read a book to young children, flip through magazines with older kids and teens. The goal is to set a calm tone that allows them to transition from busy to still more easily.
Regardless of your child’s level of anxiety, showing them by example and fostering positive behaviors will eventually become habit for them ( and you) and will allow him or her to live with having anxiety instead of anxiety ruling their lives.

 

Patrice Carroll is Latham Centers’ world-renowned Prader-Willi Syndrome specialist. She works with Latham Centers’ residents with PWS, their families and consultants, continuously learning and teaching about PWS best practices.

 

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