I remember the first time my parents allowed me to go to a sleep-away camp by myself, as well as the anxiety I developed prior to leaving for camp. I had difficulty sleeping, feeling a general uneasiness and becoming increasingly anxious that I wouldn’t be able to make the camping trip. My dad helped me work through my anxiety and suggested valuable coping mechanisms that helped me to relax. This made all the difference for me and provided me with strategies that I could use later in life.
Tell your child when you notice something’s bothering him or her. Be sympathetic and show you care and want to understand.
Listen to your child and ask her to tell you what’s wrong. Listen attentively and calmly. Take your time to talk and let your child take her time, too.
Comment briefly on the feelings you think your child is experiencing. Feeling understood and listened to will help him sense he’s supported by you during this anxious time.
Together with your child, brainstorm some concrete things she can do to help alleviate her anxiety. By having her find a solution, you help to teach her the skills necessary for facing future anxiety.
The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides bi-weekly action ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents. For more information, or to join local conversations, contact David Eggebeen at firstname.lastname@example.org, Mick Trombley at email@example.com, Robert Orndorff at firstname.lastname@example.org, Chris Dufour at email@example.com or Marc McCann at firstname.lastname@example.org. See the Centre County Fathering website for resources and information at www.centrefathering.org.