A Wealth of Worry: Common Worries and How to Help Over-the- Road

A Wealth of Worry: Common Worries and How to Help Over-the- Road

Summer is officially here! During this time, kids and adults alike like to take time to relax and have fun in the sun. However, just because the sun is out doesn’t mean that worries are completely alleviated. That’s why this month, we’ll be analyzing common worries among kids young and old and what some common coping strategies look like. 

Dr. Alison Roffers, the director of counseling services for the Springfield Public School District and mother of three, is no stranger to discussions about worries from wee ones and older kids alike. With years of counseling experience under her belt, she discussed some common worries from different age groups, as well as good coping strategies. 

Regardless of the age of your child, different worries and reactions are common among different kids. 

“Collective experiences don’t mean the same response,” Dr. Roffers explained. “There’s no set list of worries that we can prepare for necessarily.”

What do younger kids often worry about? 

 Dr. Roffers listed some of the various worries that elementary aged children might have, including it being the first time going to a bigger school environment, apprehensions about school, and the unknown. As each new school year begins, the fears begin to resurface with each  new classroom with new kids and a new teacher. 

“These are brand new experiences,” Dr. Roffers said. In addition, being away from loved ones or guardians, different academic situations such as testing, friendship struggles, severe weather, and things heard on the news are all common worries. 

In general, new situations and the unknown are common fears among elementary schoolers. 

Older kids

“Worrying about school doesn’t go away with age,” Dr. Roffers said. 

However, there are new worries cropping up as kids become older. “Worries are shifting to being very (socially) focused, being accepted and well liked, finding their people, and having a fear of missing out,” she said.

Adult children 

Worries don’t go away with age, they simply evolve. Parents have their own unique worries for their adult children as they do their young children. 

Kyle Turner, a father of three and a Prime driver of over four years, mentioned some worries that parents of adult children may have. 

“You never really stop worrying about your kids,” he said. “You wonder if they’re happy, if they’re paying their bills, do they like what they’re doing, it’s always going through your head.”

“It’s the same worries, just different situations,” he continued. “Occupations, are they taking care of themselves? You don’t want to be that helicopter parent. You want to ask those questions but you want to feel things out.” 

Seven coping strategies for common worries

1. Listen in a non-judgmental way

One of the best things you can do to support your kids through their worries is by being an active listener. Be fully present while listening. Make eye contact (if possible). Wait until they’re done responding, and demonstrate that you’ve been paying attention by asking open-ended questions. The key is to listen and understand rather than to respond with your own opinion. 

2. Validate their concerns 

From a very young age, kids are able to pick up on whether you’re actually listening, as well as non verbal cues such as an eye roll. Dr. Roffers mentioned phrases like “I can understand why that sounds scary,” and “it’s normal to be nervous,” are examples of validating phrases. 

3. Offer reassurance. Don’t brush things off as “no big deal.”

Let your kids know you’re there for them, even if you’re not physically present.

What may seem like “no big deal” to a parent can be a significant stressor to a child. Part of being a supportive parent is meeting your children where they are and expressing sympathy in response to their worries. 

4. Practice positive self-talk and “feel out feelings.”

Self-talk is typically the internal dialogue one experiences, and this can be both positive and negative. By having a more positive thought life, your worries tend to decrease. 

In addition, it’s important to let kids express their feelings by verbalizing them out loud. Dr. Roffers suggests asking them “What is your body doing to make you realize you’re feeling nervous?” Do they have butterflies in their tummy? Are their muscles tense? Does their stomach hurt? 

Worry and anxiety is displayed in everyone differently, so having your child “feel out their feelings” helps to determine what symptoms they experience while worrying and how to better cope with them. 

5. Practice relaxation techniques

Taking deep breaths, counting to ten, and general mindfulness can help alleviate worries. Different coping strategies work for different people, so finding what works for you is important. 

6. Write it down

For older kids, journaling can be a helpful outlet for worrying situations. 

Dr. Roffers suggested dads encourage their children to cope with anxious feelings by writing.

“They can free-write, and there are a ton of different resources for guided feelings journals, confidence journals, and different materials you can find online.”

7. Get a good amount of sleep 

Sleeping at least 8 hours a night and limiting screen time before bed can significantly improve one’s physical and mental health.

While over-the-road, dads can still help encourage kids to get a good amount of sleep. Setting a good example by getting enough sleep yourself and ensuring your child is adhering to their bedtime schedules are just some of the ways over-the-road dads can help.  

Reminder: It’s important to remember that worries are a normal part about being human. However, if your child’s worries are debilitating or it’s impacting their daily life, talk with a pediatrician or clinical counselor. 

Insights for Prime fathers

Dr. Roffers mentioned that a common worry for younger kids is being away from loved ones or guardians. 

“That’s how I grew up,” she said. “My dad traveled every week and was home on the weekends.”

Even as an over the road father, you can still help your kids with certain worries they may have. Dr. Roffers, along with Kyle, shared some of their insights on how to help with certain worries over the road.  

Communication is key

Over the road drivers can better connect with their worried children by staying in touch.

“Frequent communication helps,” Dr. Roffers said. “The nice thing about technology is that we’re connected more than ever. Scheduled calls and facetimes and keeping them frequent and regular.”

Kyle, when discussing worries he has about his children, stated “The only way you can feel better about that stuff is to have a conversation and talk to them. The conversation doesn’t have to be about anything in general. My son and I talk about shotguns and TVs and computers, and my daughters and I talk about more social things. You’re more or less getting a feel with how they’re reacting to you, and you can pick up the vibe right away if something is wrong.”  

Kyle mentioned that even though his kids are fully grown and moved away, he still takes time to call each of them at least once a week. He also expressed the importance of talking with your partner. 

“The whole key is constant communication,” he said. 

Plan activities for when you’re back home

“Setting dates for activities to do together when you’re reunited, having something to look forward to doing together can give some extra hope and positivity,” Dr. Roffers said.

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor activities. If money is an issue, there are several free or low cost options available for you and your family. Parks, museums with free admission, and local swimming pools and creeks are all activities you can plan to do with your family when you’re home from over the road.

Final Words

It’s important to remember that communication is key when it comes to fathering over the road. 

“Keep talking to your kids.” Kyle said. “My kids laugh at me all the time, and most of the time I have no idea what they’re laughing at. It lightens the mood. They might laugh at you, but just keep talking.”


  • Dora Gilreath

    Dora joined the Good Dads team in 2024 and is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in creative writing at Missouri State University. She grew up with a truck driving father and loves reading, writing and anything related to theater.

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