Posted by & filed under Anxiety OC PTSD, Child Development, Disorders of Childhood, Early Social and Emotional development, Families and Peers, Health Psychology, Human Development, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Intervention: Children and Adolescents.

Description: Imagine that a small child that you know is telling you that they feel anxious about some situation or upcoming event. Think about what you might say to them. If one of the things that you might say to them involve some version of telling them not to worry because everything will be okay you might want to think twice about that approach. Before reading the article linked below think a little bit about what might be less than optimal about telling children or anybody for that matter not to worry that things will simply be all right.

Source: Don’t Tell Anxious Kids That Everything Will Be O. K. , Carey Wallace, Time Magazine.

Date: September 7, 2016


Photo Credit:  Natalie Fobes/ Getty Images

Links:  Article Link —

It is certainly true that much of what causes anxiety and small children will, hopefully, go away as they grow and develop. That said, it’s sometimes helpful to think about the sorts of things that can impact the nature of that actual development and about what the things that we say to children of various ages supports or potentially short-circuits developmental opportunities. Telling the child not to worry about something it’s making them anxious basically stalls that child in the development of any active ways of coping with their anxiety. Simply being told not to worry about something is quite different than being helped to figure out and implement some strategies for directly dealing with the event or situation that is causing the anxiety in the first place. So the next time you feel inclined to tell somebody not to worry and that everything will be alright think about whether this is the best thing to do in relation to that person’s longer-term development, happiness, and life competence.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. In what sort of situations do adults typically tell children that everything will be okay and that they shouldn’t be anxious?
  2. What sort of things might adults say to children instead of simply telling them that everything will be okay? Why would these be more appropriate responses?
  3. Are there limits to hard one should work to avoid telling children that everything will be okay when they are anxious? In other words, are there situations where this would be perfectly appropriate? And what sort of factors differentiate these situations?

References (Read Further):

Children are more anxious today than they were 60 years ago,

Dacey, J. S., Fiore, L. B., & Mack, M. D. (2016). Your anxious child: How parents and teachers can relieve anxiety in children. John Wiley & Sons.

Cullen, J. L. (2013). Children’s ability to cope with failure: Implications of a metacognitive approach for the classroom. Metacognition, cognition, and human performance, 2, 267-3.

Merrell, K. W. (2013). Helping students overcome depression and anxiety: A practical guide. Guilford Publications.

Kendall, P. C., Settipani, C. A., & Cummings, C. M. (2012). No need to worry: The promising future of child anxiety research. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 41(1), 103-115.