Anxious to Brave: On Online Course for Parents of Children and Teens With Anxiety

Children with anxiety have everything they need inside them to light up the world, but too often anxiety will tell them a different story. We know they are capable, brave, strong, and that anxiety doesn’t change that a bit. The challenge is to help them realise it too.

Research has shown that with the right support, information, and strategies, parents and carers have a profound capacity to move children and teens towards brave behaviour and strengthen them towards long-term courage, calm, and resilience. The move through anxiety isn’t an easy one, for children or the adults who love them, but it is absolutely possible. As part of this program, we will explore how.

This in-depth program will provide parents with research-backed information and strategies to strengthen children and teens against anxiety in the moment and for the long term. We will discuss the what and why of anxiety and how to open up a world for your child or teen where anxiety stops getting in their way, and brave behaviour becomes possible.

‘Anxious to Brave’ will also provide parents and carers with ways to support children and teens through big feelings (including anxiety, anger, meltdowns) and the range of behaviour that can be fuelled by those big feelings (including at school, bedtime, when faced with a challenge, or more generally). We will also discuss ways to empower children and teens with an understanding of their brain and body that helps make sense of feelings and behaviour, and opens up new ways to respond.

The ‘Anxious to Brave’ program consists of six online modules plus ‘mini videos’, totalling over 7 hours of content. Participants will receive workbooks which are included as part of the course. Access to the course will be available for 12 months from purchase. As part of the course, we will explore:

  • Module 1:
    • Turning anxiety into an ally. How, and why it’s so important.
    • Using neuroscience to take the anxiety out of the anxiety.
    • The single worst thing for anxiety (that every loving parent has likely done at least one or hundreds of times!).
    • When anxiety fuels behaviour. How to respond, and why we need to rethink the old responses.
    • Why parents are key to strengthening young people against anxiety.
  • Module 2:
    • How behaviours are built in the brain.
    • Why old responses die hard and why new ones take time.
    • Parents don’t cause anxiety, but here’s why you’re a powerful part of the solution.
    • The responses (that all loving parents will do) that will inadvertently increase anxiety – why, and what to do instead.
    • A proven way for parents to increase brave behaviour in children – making a step-by-step plan.
    • When their anxiety becomes yours.
  • Module 3:
    • How the brain registers threat or safety – and what they need from you.
    • The house model of regulation – how our nervous systems influence each other, and how you can use yours to bring calm to theirs.
    • Practical strategies to build their capacity for calm, courage, and resilience.
    • How to respond in the moment when anxiety hits in a way that helps build calm, connection, and maximises your influence and their capacity for brave behaviour.
    • Co-regulation or co-dysregulation?
    • Dealing with anxiety fuelled behaviour – during the storm, after the storm.
    • Separation anxiety – practical examples and strategies to build brave.
    • School anxiety and how to build their attachment village.
  • Module 4:
    • Anxiety – 4 Responses. Which one when.
    • Building their Toolbox. The practical strategies for young people that will build calm, courage, and resilience.
    • Making the move towards brave behaviour – the practical plan that won’t depend on their response or their willingness to engage;
  • Module 5:
    • The different ways your child might respond when their anxiety is big, and how to respond.
    • Managing their reaction – the key strategies.
    • When their reaction is especially big.
    • The most important rule.
  • Module 6:
    • Proven strategies to strengthen against anxiety in the long-term.
    • Practical strategies to reduce anxiety at bedtime and ensure a restful sleep – for everyone.
  • ‘Stronger Than Anxiety’
    • This is a video for children and teens to watch on their own or with you. It will introduce the language and concepts we’ve been discussing to make sure they feel as ready as possible to make the move towards brave. This module includes 20-page workbook, ‘Calming Your Amygdala’. In this module, we will explore:
      • Why anxiety feels the way it does.
      • Why anxiety always comes with courage.
      • A way to think about anxiety that will help soften its impact.
      • How to feel braver, stronger, and more powerful when you need to.
      • How to calm anxiety.
      • The connection between anxiety and your ‘thinking brain’ – and how to switch your thinking brain on.
      • The things that will help anxiety in the moment and in the long term.

NOTE: This course includes ‘Stronger Than Anxiety’, a module specifically for young people to help them discover their own brave way through anxiety. A workbook is included. 

This course is intended to offer meaningful and impactful support to parents of children with anxiety. It is not therapy, nor is it intended to replace any therapy you or your child might currently be involved in. If your child is currently working with a therapist, please feel free to discuss anything you learn here with the therapist to ensure consistency of pacing, approach, and goals and timing.

Price: AUD $206.53
Developed and presented by: Karen Young
Location: On-Demand Course
Includes: Videos (7+ hours) + Workbooks

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Lead with warmth and confidence: ‘Yes I know this feels big, and yes I know you can handle it.’ 

We’re not saying they’ll handle it well, and we’re not dismissing their anxiety. What we’re saying is ‘I know you can handle the discomfort of anxiety.’ 

It’s not our job to relive this discomfort. We’ll want to, but we don’t have to. Our job is to give them the experiences they need (when it’s safe) to let them see that they can handle the discomfort of anxiety. 

This is important, because there will  always be anxiety when they do something brave, new, important, growthful. 

They can feel anxious and do brave. Leading with warmth and confidence is about, ‘Yes, I believe you that this feels bad, and yes, I believe in you.’ When we believe in them, they will follow. So often though, it will start with us.♥️
There are things we do because we love them, but that doesn’t mean they’ll feel loved because of those things.

Of course our kids know we love them, and we know they love us. But sometimes, they might feel disconnected from that feeling of being ‘loved by’. As parents, we might feel disconnected from the feeling of being ‘appreciated by’.

It’s no coincidence that sometimes their need to feel loved, and our need to feel appreciated collide. This collision won’t sound like crashing metal or breaking concrete. It will sound like anger, frustration, demanding, nagging. 

It will feel like not mattering, resentment, disconnection. It can burst through us like meteors of anger, frustration, irritation, defiance. It can be this way for us and our young ones. (And our adult relationships too.)

We humans have funny ways of saying, ‘I miss you.’

Our ‘I miss you’ might sound like nagging, annoyance, anger. It might feel like resentment, rage, being taken for granted, sadness, loneliness. It might look like being less playful, less delighting in their presence.

Their ‘I miss you’ might look like tantrums, aggression, tears, ignoring, defiant indifference, attention-seeking (attention-needing). It might sound like demands, anger, frustration.

The point is, there are things we do because we love them - cleaning, the laundry, the groceries, cooking. And yes, we want them to be grateful, but feeling grateful and feeling loved are different things. 

Sometimes the things that make them feel loved are so surprising and simple and unexpected - seeking them out for play, micro-connections, the way you touch their hair at bedtime, the sound of your laugh at their jokes, when you delight in their presence (‘Gosh I’ve missed you today!’ Or, ‘I love being your mum so much. I love it better than everything. Even chips. If someone said you can be queen of the universe or Molly’s mum, I’d say ‘Pfft don’t annoy me with your offers of a crown. I’m Molly’s mum and I’ll never love being anything more.’’)

So ask them, ‘What do I do that makes you feel loved?’ If they say ‘When you buy me Lego’, gently guide them away from bought things, and towards what you do for them or with them.♥️
We don’t have to protect them from the discomfort of anxiety. We’ll want to, but we don’t have to.

OAnxiety often feels bigger than them, but it isn’t. This is a wisdom that only comes from experience. The more they sit with their anxiety, the more they will see that they can feel anxious and do brave anyway. Sometimes brave means moving forward. Sometimes it means standing still while the feeling washes away. 

It’s about sharing the space, not getting pushed out of it.

Our job as their adults isn’t to fix the discomfort of anxiety, but to help them recognise that they can handle that discomfort - because it’s going to be there whenever they do something brave, hard , important. When we move them to avoid anxiety, we potentially, inadvertently, also move them to avoid brave, hard, growthful things. 

‘Brave’ rarely feels brave. It will feel jagged and raw. Sometimes fragile and threadbare. Sometimes it will as though it’s breathing fire. But that’s how brave feels sometimes. 

The more they sit with the discomfort of anxiety, the more they will see that anxiety isn’t an enemy. They don’t have to be scared of it. It’s a faithful ally, a protector, and it’s telling them, ‘Brave lives here. Stay with me. Let me show you.’♥️
#parenting #childanxiety #anxietyinkids #teenanxiety
We have to stop treating anxiety as a disorder. Even for kids who have seismic levels of anxiety, pathologising anxiety will not serve them at all. All it will do is add to their need to avoid the thing that’s driving anxiety, which will most often be something brave, hard, important. (Of course if they are in front of an actual danger, we help anxiety do its job and get them out of the way of that danger, but that’s not the anxiety we’re talking about here.)

The key to anxiety isn’t in the ‘getting rid of’ anxiety, but in the ‘moving with’ anxiety. 

The story they (or we) put to their anxiety will determine their response. ‘You have anxiety. We need to fix it or avoid the thing that’s causing it,’ will drive a different response to, ‘Of course you have anxiety. You’re about to do something brave. What’s one little step you can take towards it?’

This doesn’t mean they will be able to ‘move with’ their anxiety straight away. The point is, the way we talk to them about anxiety matters. 

We don’t want them to be scared of anxiety, because we don’t want them to be scared of the brave, important, new, hard things that drive anxiety. Instead, we want to validate and normalise their anxiety, and attach it to a story that opens the way for brave: 

‘Yes you feel anxious - that’s because you’re about to do something brave. Sometimes it feels like it happens for no reason at all. That’s because we don’t always know what your brain is thinking. Maybe it’s thinking about doing something brave. Maybe it’s thinking about something that happened last week or last year. We don’t always know, and that’s okay. It can feel scary, and you’re safe. I would never let you do something unsafe, or something I didn’t think you could handle. Yes you feel anxious, and yes you can do this. You mightn’t feel brave, but you can do brave. What can I do to help you be brave right now?’♥️

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