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5 Reasons Your Child is Anxious & Thinks the World is Unsafe

This is my daughter on her second day of Preschool. She is clutching her shoes and wearing her boots at the end of the day - scared shitless that if we leave them in her cubby...someone will 'take them.' My goal in the situation started as trying to take home as few items as possible. We didn't need to be trucking all of her extra things back and forth to school every damn day. (I carry enough baggage during the day...) I simply said no, and told her to leave them in her cubby.

But I quickly realized the situation actually distressed her. She was under the impression that if we 'leave things lying around' someone will take them - or they will go missing. A very typical threat presented by parents to encourage our kids to take care of their things and pay attention to their stuff.

It took 7 minutes of soft talking, explaining & convincing that: 1) Her classroom is a safe place to leave her things, 2) most times when we leave things places, other people are kind and either don't take them or will try to find their true owner, and 3) if her shoes get taken or go missing - it's not a big deal, there are plenty of shoes in the world.

But shit - how did this happen? How do kids get these weird impressions? Well - it's our fault. Plain and simple.

Top 5 Reasons Your Child is Anxious & Thinks the World is Unsafe

#5 - You parent for Risk Aversion instead of Risk Management.

If you constantly talk to you kid about 'not doing things' because they 'could be' unsafe - change your approach. Give you child your focus and walk them through how to make that situation as safe as possible, while still participating or having that experience. Be their guide, not their handler.

#4 - You parent with Judgement instead of Curiosity.

We can often get caught up giving our kids the answers when they ask questions. This starts to design a rigid framework of the world for our kids. It also limits their ability to consider alternatives - and be comfortable with situations not turning out how they expected. It's so important to turn questions around on our kids and have them go through the process of the thought work. "Why do people do that?" "Why do YOU think people do that?"

#3 - You parent for to Protect instead of supporting Development of Independence.

Of course its our job to make sure our kids don't die. But if you are your kids constant 'bouncer' - they are never going to learn to protect themselves. Which is necessary for them to become a competent and capable adult. They don't learn that shit on their own. you need to teach them in stages, how to protect themselves - and have confidence doing it.

#2 - You parent with Limits instead of Guided Exploration.

It happens all the time - we get lazy or we are distracted & instead of participating with our kids in something new they want to try or do, we just say no to avoid catastrophe. They want to use scissors. They want to open up a random box they pulled out of the closet. They want to take a trail you're not familiar with. It requires your extra attention. Give it to them and the situation. When you take the time to teach your kids to do things on their own, they level up and develop less dependence on you for every - little - thing.

And the number one reason your kid is Anxious and thinks the world is Unsafe?

#1 - You are Anxious and think The World is Unsafe.

Do I need to explain this one? Wrap your head around that.

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