McConaghie Counseling |5755 N Point Pkwy 75AlpharettaGA30022 | (770) 645-8933
McConaghie Counseling
5755 N Point Pkwy 75
AlpharettaGA 30022
 (770) 645-8933

Let your Child do a Little Weight Lifting

Let your Child do a Little Weight Lifting

We all want our children to be independent, capable, confident people when they leave our homes. It also hurts to see our children struggle and suffer and this pain can lead us to over-do for our children or rescue them from important life experiences and lessons.  

Whatever your child’s age, put it in the form of a fraction with 18 as the denominator. In other words, if your child is 10, she is 10/18 of the way to adulthood. If 14, he or she is even closer —14/18 of the way to adulthood!

This fraction can be a helpful reminder that we need to be working toward equipping our children to leave us and live responsibly and effectively without us. 

I often use a weight lifting metaphor when working with children with anxiety. A child with anxiety needs to develop their “coping with worries muscles.” It is helpful to compare this to weight lifting to develop arm muscles.

If the person who wants to get stronger lifted a pencil for their training session, they would not get very strong. If they were asked to lift a sofa, they would be discouraged and overwhelmed with the impossible task.

If they were offered a 5 to 10 pound weight, it would be a little uncomfortable and require some effort, but it could be done. In fact, if it was done regularly, it would eventually become easy.

However, if the person lifting the 10 pound weight held it in their hand while their parent stood in front of them and pushed the weight up and down, they would not get stronger at all. 

Which muscles does your child need to develop? Coping with disappointment, managing homework, solving sibling conflict, and handling money are all examples of crucial life skills that can only be developed with some discomfort, disappointment and difficult natural consequences.

If we do the lifting for our children, they will have it easier in the short term but it will leave them much weaker and less capable than we want them to be in the long run.

Anxiety is not atypical in children, and in some cases can be a normal part of their development. But if the anxiety is interfering with their daily life, it could point to an anxiety disorder, which affects roughly 1 in 8 children.

If your child is experiencing significant anxiety, it is important to get him or her help.

Tracy McConaghie, LCSW, RPT/S, CPDLT, works with clients of all ages, with a specialty in children, teens and parenting. Her husband Andrew is a couples counselor, and together they run McConaghie Counseling in Alpharetta. They can be reached at 770-645-8933, or .

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