In times of uncertainty and stress, it can be difficult for parents to put on a smile and reassure their children that everything will be okay. But Dr. Shefali Tsabary, a world-renowned clinical psychologist, teaches people all over the world how to transform these feelings of anxiety into resilience.
Yahoo Lifestyle sat down with Tsabary to gain insight on how parents can best connect with their children while helping to alleviate fear and panic surrounding the coronavirus.
It’s crucial for a parent to discern rational fears from irrational fears, Tsabary says, in both themselves and their children, as a parent’s lack of self-awareness can greatly impact how children handle their own anxieties. The key is to allow yourself and your children to feel those fears, to acknowledge them, and to support them, but not to spend too much time on future-based thoughts and “irrational fears.”
“I'm a mindfulness teacher, so what I do with that is help parents come into the present moment and enter gratitude, power, resilience, courage, in the present moment. And as long as we can do that for ourselves, we can teach our children,” Tsabary says.
Setting an example by adapting, alchemizing and being altruistic people will also give children confidence in times of distress. Tsabary adds, “If they see us do these three things everyday, they will understand that this is a difficult time, I can be afraid, I can fall apart, but my mom and dad have got it together.”
When it comes to sharing the hard facts about what is going on in the world right now, she warns that it all depends on the developmental maturity of your child. However, she advises against keeping the news on constantly. As Tsabary points out, “It escalates anxiety and the sense of being out of control. Watch it late at night when you can, especially if you have young children, because they don't need to absorb our anxiety right now.”
She goes on to explain how to handle and communicate with children who show signs of depression and anxiety, reminding us to “keep a special eye out” for the children that were already gearing towards depression before the outbreak. Her book, “Superpowered: How to Transform Anxiety Into Confidence, Courage, and Resilience,” expands on this topic.
Lastly, Tsabary issues a reminder of the various self-love, online communities that are offering free services, such as her own guided meditation groups. Meditation, she suggests, is the most ideal medication for anxiety, reminding us all that “we as human beings are capable of living in reality no matter how painful it is.”
For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides.
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