Helping or Hindering?

Dorothy - posted on 07/17/2011 ( 2 moms have responded )




My son recently turned 13 and until recently I thought his lack of wherewithal was tied to laziness. I'm now suspecting anxiety may be the culprit. Either way, my question remains:

If anxiety is suspected, do you believe gentle coaxing is helpful to have the child overcome their fears or could it actually be hindering his ability to make judgements/decisions?

Whether it be organized sports, asking a friend over, or going to the neighborhood pool, my son never wants to do these things on his own OR comes up with a million reasons why it is not a good idea (no one will want to come over, or he won't get a good team, or he won't have anyone to play with at the pool). I usually encourage him despite his protests and insist he do whatever it is anyway. And he always ends up having a good time.

In the end though, time passes and another opportunity presents itself and its the same ordeal. Should I continue coaxing him and encouraging him to do what he thinks may end badly or leave him be? His way of thinking is foreign to me; the last thing I want is to make him more anxious or force him into something he does not want to do…but at the same time I am concerned with the negativity that surrounds his thought process and feel it is my duty to show him there is nothing to be afraid of. Any thoughts?


[deleted account]

I think a lot of it would depend on how severe his anxiety is, but I wouldn't totally give up either way. Coaxing and encouraging may be what he needs, but definitely don't push or force (optional activities, of course) him.

I'm trying to figure if it would've helped me or not if my parents had done what you are doing instead of just letting me be.... and I don't know since they didn't. I will tell you that I am 34 and am now attempting to deal w/ things I should've dealt w/ 10-20 years ago..... So don't give up on him. That's for sure!


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Neva - posted on 07/17/2011




I would try to talk to your son and ask him how he feels. Does he have friends? Is he bullied at school or in the neighborhood that he's afraid? I would also take him to his pediatrician and have him have a physical exam and tell the pediatrician whats going on, he/she should have adolescent screening forms for anxiety and depression. This might be normal early adolescent angst, but it could also signal a more serious anxiety disorder that could be treated.

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