How do I protect my children from a sibling who suffers from anxiety?

- User Submitted

This is a really, really good question
because now I'm, the parent is aware enough
and insightful enough to say,
I've got one child with anxiety.
Uh, how do I help
and be a, what we would call attuned to my other children
and be aware of their needs?
So there's probably three
or four things I would say in a situation like this.
One is that you still take time to interact
with your other children.
One-on-one, and then it goes back
to an open conversation if you're concerned about it,
talking with them openly about what they're experiencing.
I know that Jenny or Ryan
or whatever, my other child is struggling.
Uh, your sibling is struggling with some anxiety.
Uh, what's that like for you? Do you feel anxious?
Or when they're anxious, what are you experiencing?
Na, these are just open
questions, just trying to get feedback.
No judgment, no anything,
but I I want you to know
that if anytime you feel overwhelmed
or you feel concerned, feel free to come to me.
Now, the other part of that is, is a, a fear.
Some children are afraid to express their emotions
because they don't want to be like their anxious sibling.
And so they will go the other direction.
They may be feeling some of those emotions,
but they don't want to experiencing them
because they realize that that's taking a lot of mom or dad
or mom and dad's time.
And, and so the stepping back from that is being able
to have this open communication.
The the second part of this
that I think is really important is now
that I've spent some interaction with them,
I've got an open conversation with them.
Part of it is, uh, attending to the child with anxiety
and helping them get the resources
so they can actually learn to model how to go through this.
Because there is a genetic component where we can literally,
uh, inherit anxiety or depression.
So, so there is a genetic link.
And so if mom and dad had anxiety, mom or dad had anxiety
and grandma or grandpa had anxiety, well,
there's a high probability that my children are going
to experience it because I'm experiencing it
or I've experienced it.
So no shame here it is just learning how to deal with it.
Which leads me to the other point,
and that is the more you learn about it,
the more you can educate your entire family
system on how to deal with this.
Because it, again, it's a genetic thing in many situations,
but it's also an environmental situation.
But the answer is still the same.
We all need to learn how to regulate our emotions. Anxiety.
We need to get into healthy patterns
so we can respond to the anxiety.
Proper sleep is a big deal, right?
And then we know how
to do a breathing exercise if I'm experiencing anxiety.
So learning how with the right techniques
and strategies is good for the entire family system.
And now it's like if we in our family are dealing
with anxiety, then we have a tool
or tools in knowing how to respond.
Now, I'm just gonna give a simple example of this.
You can take it home, you can practice it
with your, uh, children.
You can do it on your own. It's called the basic exercise.
Type it into Google. It is a research
Approach to helping us
regulate our body's autonomic nervous system.
In other words, it's like a break to anxiety.
And so if the, if the gas is always being pushed
and we aren't pushing on the brake, well, if we can learn
to push on the brake, it slows down this racing mind.
And so what we're trying to do is use our body's natural
built-in system to slow down.
The basic exercise actually helps us access
what is called the vagus nerve.
And the vagus nerve is literally the break
of our body and our anxiety.
And so what we do is we just learn how to pump that brake.
The basic exercise is a simple way to do that.

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Dr. Kevin Skinner