When they are at that line, deciding whether to retreat to safety or move forward into bravery, there will be a part of them that will know they have what it takes to be brave. It might be pale, or quiet, or a little tumbled by the noise from anxiety, but it will be there. And it will be magical. As parent your job as their flight crew is to clear the way for this magical part of them to rise.
To do this, you first need to let them know you are with them, that you will see their world the way they see it. Let this be with so much love and warmth – the relational connection is everything.
Whenever you can, speak to that bravery part of them and usher it to into the light. You’ll be doing this every time you acknowledge their strengths, the brave things they do, their effort when they do hard things; and their tiny shuffles or big leaps towards brave.
This isn’t always easy. Their anxiety will trigger yours – when your children feel unsafe, often so will you. So you have to hang on hard to the truth of it all – that you know they can do this. If you feel yourself believing in their anxiety more than their bravery, remind yourself that they will believe in themselves when you do. Then, breathe, find calm, remember the truth of it all, and let your courage lead theirs.