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Your son doesn’t want to go to basketball practice. Your daughter does not feel comfortable staying at home alone. Your stepdaughter cries in the morning and tries to avoid going to school. What do all of these children have in common? They are all experiencing anxiety.

Children who are anxious may feel that there is a worry sound track in their minds. They don’t know that there are alternative ways to think or they may not know how to think differently.

These children’s anxious feelings may be due to genetics, temperament, family dynamics, or environmental factors such as stress or trauma.

So what can parents do to help? What anxious children really need from their parents is acceptance, perspective, courage, patience, good family communication and family problem solving skills, and encouragement. Parents should not protect their children from their fears, but instead can encourage them to figure out how to deal with their challenges.

Lastly, parents can notice and appreciate when their anxious children take risks and try something new and different. As children improve and gain new skills and abilities and reach their goals, parents can recognize their progress.