22 Things NOT to say to an anxious child

Just trying to figure out the real cause behind a child’s biggest worries and concerns can be a difficult task for any parent. But once you’ve gotten down to the heart of the problem, it can be just as challenging to know exactly what to say to soothe their fears. Even if a child seems to be overly worried about a minor detail or you think they’re making a major fuss over nothing, you never want to invalidate their feelings. Just like adults, some children are more anxious than others and react to and cope with stressors differently. As you try to navigate through a worried spell, it’s important to know that some of the things you’re saying in an attempt to calm their fears are actually inflaming them.

  1. You’re going to make yourself crazy.
  2. What’s wrong with you?
  3. You better snap out of it or else.
  4. You’re just a worrywart.
  5. Your brother/sister did it and they were great!
  6. Stressing about it is just going to make things worse.
  7. I can do it for you instead.
  8. You have no reason to be stressed.
  9. Practice will make perfect.
  10. You’re OK.
  11. There’s nothing to be afraid of.
  12. Let’s do something else instead!
  13. You won’t fail!
  14. That’s such a silly thing to be worried about!
  15. Trust me, it’s going to all be OK.
  16. I can’t understand why that has you so upset.
  17. Are you sure you should be doing that?
  18. You could try harder.
  19. You’ll be fine.
  20. Don’t cry.
  21. This is the worst-case scenario.
  22. You can do better than that.

Lauren Levy

One thought on “22 Things NOT to say to an anxious child

  • April 13, 2016 at 11:05 AM

    So, what DO you say? I try to reassure my children that they are ok, and safe. But says you shouldn’t say “you’re ok”. Or not to be afraid. So, what CAN we say to reassure the kiddos?


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