How to Parent Through Panic Attacks: Ways to Help Avoid & Stop Panic Attacks in Kids by Jodi Aman, LCSW
Panic attacks are the worst! It can be hard enough to work through your own anxiety and panic attacks, but it can also be heartbreakingly hard to work through your own child's panic attacks. Parenting through panic attacks, whether it is you having the panic attack or them having it, is especially difficult, because there are two important things to deal with at the same time.
I understand the struggles of battling panic attacks both personally and in with my kids. In order to avoid panic attacks, for both you and your kids, you must first know how to stop panic attacks in their tracks. Here are my top tips on how you can avoid and stop panic attacks when you are present with your kids:
1. Try to Get Into the Present Moment
Anxiety lies. Try to get out of your own head, which perpetuates your own anxiety. Anxiety works to keep you scared and questioning reality. Panic attacks pull you into your monkey mind, disassociate you from reality and can get you stuck in the anxious thoughts which are beacons for your attention. So, it can become hard to focus on anything else. Work on coming back to the present moment and focus on parenting.
2. Distract Them
Just like for you, anxiety is a beacon for your attention. You want to take their attention from their anxiety and get their mind focused on something else. In order to counter the overly engaging anxiety, you must, in turn, provide something that is overly engaging. Try a fun or funny story, physical activities or change in scenery. A simple shift in energy is enough to stop the panic attack dead in its tracks.
Beating yourself up over feeling helpless will get you nowhere. Learning about why panic attacks happen in the first place and what you can do will help you navigate and prevent future panic attacks. You are not alone in this!
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