How To Help Your Kids Manage Anxiety – A Talk From “Girl Power Hour 2017”


by Danelle Spence



Girl Power Hour Calgary is an annual luncheon in support of adolescent mental health and the Lionheart Foundation.

The 2017 event was held on October 11th at the Calgary Telus Convention Centre and was attended by 650 people.

The panel of presenters provided best parenting practices to help with the issues facing our girls today including: anxiety, eating disorders and self harm.

In my talk I discuss the reasons why your kids are reluctant to turn to you for emotional support and the steps you can take to open the vital, emotional dialog for their wellbeing.

The main reasons teens are avoiding their parents for emotional support are:


I don’t want my parents to overreact.


I don’t want them to worry, they have enough on their plates.


They won't understand.

6 Key Take-Aways From The Presentation

Take-Away 1

The most effective way to support your child’s emotional well-being, is always grounded in the parent/child relationship. I believe that all parents have the capacity to be a positive influence on their child’s emotional well-being. AND have the absolute ability to do so.

Take-Away 2

Emotions matter. When children begin to understand their feelings, and learn what to DO with their feelings (every emotion needs action) they build competency and confidence in themselves.

Take-Away 3

Children need to feel seen, felt and understood. It’s that sense of “this person gets me” that is truly healing. If a child has a healthy, connected relationship with you, they will be more receptive and open to your guidance and suggestions.

Take-Away 4

Attend, label and validate your kid’s emotions. Problem-solve and action-plan less. It’s understandable that you want to take your child’s pain or discomfort away, but try to pause first, listen more and talk less. Often your child will just want to vent to you, rather than need you to jump in with a quick solution.

Take-Away 5

Model being imperfect, and repair when it feels like you missed attending to them in the way that they need. Offering an apology and letting them know you made a mistake, can be powerful relationship-builders with your kids.

Take-Away 6

 Be mindful of how available and present you are for your kids. The more accessible you are, the more likely they will begin to open up to you. They also need to see that you are emotionally ok yourselves and that you will be able to handle their feelings. This will invite them to open up to you more. If they believe you are too busy, frustrated, tired, or overwhelmed, they may not share their authentic selves with you.

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About the Author

Danelle Spence

Danelle Spence is a Registered Psychologist with a passion for helping teens effectively manage emotional distress and helping their parents’ understand the complex and developing teenage brain.

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