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3 Steps to Respond to PANDAS/PANS Anxiety

anxiety Apr 30, 2023
Three Steps to Respond to PANDAS/PANS Anxiety

Recently, I posted some tips on Instagram about how to respond to PANDAS/PANS anxiety.

I used an example of the type of texts I used to get from my P/P child that used to send my blood pressure soaring.

Here's one example of what her texts would look like:

My P/P child's anxiety triggered my anxiety and I felt like I had to fix the anxiety right away.  

So if you find yourself in a situation where your P/P child's anxiety makes you feel that you need to jump into action to solve their problem, use these three steps instead:

  1. Validate their feelings.  Use phrases like, "I hear how overwhelming this feels" or "I see this is really challenging".  Validation calms the nervous system and often allows your child or teen to be more open to hearing what you will say next.
  2. Next, acknowledge anxiety's "false alarm".  Anxiety makes everything feel dangerous and urgent.  Your job as the parent is to recognize that a false alarm is occurring, not to respond as if the situation is dangerous or urgent.  You can say, "Remember these feelings are very strong right now, but they won't stay that way."  Delay giving solutions at that moment but let your child know that you will come back to problem-solving about the issue at a later time.  (Make sure you do come back to it because anxiety may indicate that your child/teen needs additional supports/accommodations).

Lastly, if your child is not physically present with you (like in this example), redirect them to where they can get support where they are in the moment. 

In the image below you can see how I used these three steps:

Remember that it takes time for your P/P child or teen to respond effectively to these steps.

You may want to have a discussion about how you will be responding to these situations ahead of time.  Then it's not a surprise when your P/P child or teen when you respond this way.

Also, your P/P child might get angry when you do this.  Remember that this is most likely anxiety disguised as anger

Don't react to the anger.  Remind yourself that your child's anxiety will not harm them and you are helping them even if they don't feel like they are being helped.

This is tough but you can do it.

You can learn more in my PANS Parenting Course about how to respond to P/P anxiety as well as how to navigate:

  • OCD
  • Anger/Defiance
  • Depression/Trauma
  • Your Own Stress as a P/P Parent

You can see what's in my course here.

Remember to follow me on Instagram or join my private PANDAS/PANS Facebook Group for more support!