I am very excited to share with you an excerpt from the newly revised and updated: Freeing Your Child from Anxiety: Practical Strategies to Overcome Fears, Worries, and Phobias and Be Prepared For Life—From Toddlers to Teens! Here is a snippet to get started, an exercise that you can try with your child to help her realize that worry sounds very different from the other more logical thoughts and facts that she knows very well, and because of that, worry doesn’t deserve the same treatment as the thoughts that come from the logical part of the mind. The key: Worry is going to speak up first, but you can help your child see past the worry by asking her to “interview” another part of the brain– the thinking part. This way parents don’t have to argue with their children, or try to talk them out of their fears, by coaching your child to summon another part of the brain, your child will take care of the job herself and that will feel better to both of you.
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Think in parts! Have your child name and create characters for the two (or more!) parts of the brain. By doing this you’re helping her to build the pull-down menu or mutliple lifelines that will become the go-to in her mind when worry starts to bother her. Say, “So your worry part says this. “What do the other parts of your brain think about this situation?” Younger children can draw pictures of their worry brain (or protector brain or pain in the neck brain) versus their smart brain (or competent brain, or thinking brain, or good brain). Older children and teens can create a mock Facebook profile to capture the true identities and function of the worry brain vs. smart brain. Even if the exercise sounds campy, it will drive home the point: Worry is unreliable, see it for what it really is. Count on it to always be there, and count on it to always be wrong.
©2014 Freeing Your Child from Anxiety, Tamar E. Chansky, Ph.D. Use by permission only.