Step three: Ask if they want solutions but don’t offer them without asking
Asking if kids want a solution and if they would like some advice allows them to be in control of what’s going to happen next which will help calm them more.
So if they say yes, I would say two things: "Would you like to talk about what you’re anxious about?" and, "Would you like to ask me questions about it and explore how I've dealt with myself?"
A big mistake is to say, 'You don’t have to be afraid of the dark, there's nothing to be afraid of.' It’s irrelevant. It doesn't make anyone feel better.
Asking kids what they want teaches them about boundaries and helps them create and build their sense of self which actually is one of the things that balances out anxiety. A low sense of self equals higher anxiety.
Step four: If they don’t want to talk, say "That’s okay" and mean it
Don’t take a no as a rejection of your parenting because it will show and that teaches kids they can’t say no. So say, 'That’s cool' and go and kick the footy. They can decide to work it out on their own or you can check in later—but don't pester.
The way that this plays out depends on how the parent has been with the child previously about issues. If the parent always tells the child what to do, the child will feel like they're controlling them and they won’t really want to tell them what’s going on.
So if the parent is okay with the child making their own decisions the child will keep coming to the parent more and more.
If this resonated with you, join me for TCI's live and free interactive masterclass 'Coaching Success' summit on September 26 and 27. Be part of the largest life coaching virtual summit in Australasia in 2020!