The Anxiety of Waiting
America is anxious today. The future of American leadership is uncertain and we have no more control over the situation than what many of us have already done: We voted. Now we wait. While this is a great lesson for our kids on democracy, patience for the process, and differences in how states organize elections, there is also a great lesson here for us in tolerating the anxiety of waiting. Watch my Facebook live about it HERE.
As adults, we have the patience and skills to wait. We first realize we have to wait, then we have a strategy to use: We go do something else in the meantime, we distract ourselves to stay present, and we trust that others are doing the best they can. Kids are not as good at waiting and sometimes it takes experiencing highly anxious moments of waiting, like election results, to remind adults what this feels like.
Something much smaller than awaiting election results can cause our children anxiety in the waiting process. Many children don't have the impulse control or executive functioning to plan out what to do while they wait. Learning to tolerate waiting is a skill.
So, the next time your child has a meltdown when waiting in uncertainly, get curious about whether or not they are experiencing anxiety. Help them with a plan to stay distracted and engaged in something else while waiting, trusting that they are safe even though they don't have the thing or experience or person they are waiting on.
When we are empathetic to our children's emotions, we can show up much faster to connect and support. This is all very hard. 2020, COVID, election, school, parenting, jobs, all of it. Grace for everyone. Parents, educators, and children.
**All content provided is protected under applicable copyright, patent, trademark, and other proprietary rights. All content is provided for informational and education purposes only. No content is intended to be a substitute for professional medical or psychological diagnosis, advice or treatment. Information provided does not create an agreement for service between Dr. Emily W. King and the recipient. Consult your physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to you or your child's symptoms or medical condition. Children or adults who show signs of dangerous behavior toward themselves and/or others, should be placed immediately under the care of a qualified professional.**