PSP 51: Learning How to Find the Core Fear Behind Your Child’s Anxiety or OCD

PSP 51: Learning How to Find the Core Fear Behind Your Child’s Anxiety or OCD

Your child is refusing to go to school, but you don’t know why. Your child is up all night in a perpetual state of panic, but nothing seems to calm them down. Your child is tapping things and turning the light switch on and off three times, but you have no idea why. Knowing your child has anxiety or OCD is different from knowing what is behind your child’s anxiety or OCD.

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 60: How to Tell When Your Child Needs Professional Help for OCD or Anxiety

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 60: How to Tell When Your Child Needs Professional Help for OCD or Anxiety

You watch the child you once knew slowly disappear. The stress, the worry is slowly consuming them. Morphing them into someone you don’t completely recognize. Is this something you can handle? Are there things you should be doing differently? How are you supposed to know when you should get professional help for OCD or anxiety?

As a therapist, I get asked that question often. Here is my response…

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 59: The Difference Between Child Anxiety and OCD

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 59: The Difference Between Child Anxiety and OCD

Your child seems anxious. They are often paralyzed with fear. But, they also have many habits, quirks and tics. How can you tell what is anxiety and what might be OCD. And really – does it matter? It does. The treatment for anxiety and OCD are very different. In fact, some approaches to help anxiety can actually make OCD worse. Also, as parents you will want to respond in a different way depending on whether you are dealing with OCD or pure anxiety. So how can you tell the difference between anxiety and OCD. Let me tell you…

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PSP 049: Explaining Anxiety to People Who Don’t Get it: Helping Siblings, Family & Friends

PSP 049: Explaining Anxiety to People Who Don’t Get it: Helping Siblings, Family & Friends

How many times have you heard people say things like,“you just coddle him too much” or “you just need to be tougher with her!” Some other oldies but goodies are, “She doesn’t act that way for me” and “he’ll grow out of it. Don’t worry.” Sometimes explaining anxiety to people who don’t get it can make your head spin. Trust me, I get it. I have bitten my tongue so many times – I have callouses. What about if those people are your other kids? What if you hear things like, “Why do you treat him like that?” or “If that was me I would totally get in trouble!” How can you explain anxiety to your other children so they can “get” their anxious sibling and maybe even help and not hurt the situation?

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PSP 048: Inside the Mind of an Anxious Child: A Six Year Old Talks About What Helps.

PSP 048: Inside the Mind of an Anxious Child: A Six Year Old Talks About What Helps.

On a random sick day, my youngest anxious child loomed in my office as I prepared to record my latest podcast. “What are you doing?” She asked. I told her I’m going to be on the “radio” teaching parents how to help their anxious kids. My six year old’s eyes widen and she said, “Maybe they would like to hear from a kid instead?” I agreed. She pulled up a stool next to me. Her little feed dangling as she spoke in the big microphone. I listened in awe as my daughter talked about her battle with her “worry cloud.” She talked about what helps and what doesn’t. And once again the student was the teacher.

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 57: Social Anxiety in Teens: How Parents Can Help

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 57: Social Anxiety in Teens: How Parents Can Help

Maybe they are talking about me. Maybe they don’t like me. Maybe they are just being nice to me because they pity me. Maybe I don’t want to go to that party. Maybe I don’t want to talk in class. Maybe I’ll just stay home. Again. Social anxiety is never fun, but social anxiety in teens can not only be overwhelming, but can be completely depressing.

So as a parent watching this train wreck – how are you supposed to help? For starters, telling them to just go out there and make some more friends isn’t going to help. Here is what can…

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PSP 047: What to Do When Anxiety Causes Our Kids to Have Negative Thoughts

PSP 047: What to Do When Anxiety Causes Our Kids to Have Negative Thoughts

“I had the worst day ever!” My child screams. Thirty minutes ago everything was going well. He had a good day at school and he was excited to go play. While doing homework he shouts “I’m the dumbest kid ever!” Who is this kid and where did my child go? This is a kid who gets straight As. So what is going on? Anxiety. Anxiety doesn’t always look like anxiety. Sometimes it looks like aggression. Sometimes it looks like opposition. And sometimes…it makes a child very negative. So how do you help a child who oozes negative thoughts?
You can try with some of these approaches…

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PSP 046: Signs of a Good vs Bad Child OCD and Anxiety Therapist

PSP 046: Signs of a Good vs Bad Child OCD and Anxiety Therapist

Do you like coffee? I do too. But not every cup of coffee is the same. Starbucks coffee is generally too strong. Dunkin Donuts coffee is liquid heaven. Therapy is the same way. Therapists are like coffee beans…there are a zillion types and not all of them are going to be good. This is especially true if you are looking for a child OCD or Anxiety therapist.

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 55: Helping Your Anxious Child Survive the Holidays

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 55: Helping Your Anxious Child Survive the Holidays

It’s supposed to be the happiest time of year, right? Then why is your anxious child imploding behind the Christmas tree? Tons of parties, activities, and chaos might sound fun to you, but to an anxious kid – it can be a recipe for disaster. Helping your anxious child survive the holidays isn’t too hard. You just have to know where to begin. Let me give you a jump start…

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PSP 045: OCD and Anxiety in School: The Most Misunderstood Students

PSP 045: OCD and Anxiety in School: The Most Misunderstood Students

Sarah sits at the back of the room. Her face has gone pale. Her hands are getting clammy. The teacher hands out the test. She feels nauseous, confused. The room starts to spin. She runs out of the room. The teacher stares at the empty seat. What just happened? OCD and Anxiety in school are often an unnoticed or mislabeled issue.

They are the quiet kids who are afraid to raise their hands. The aggressive kids who are feeling cornered and trapped. The perfectionistic kids who never hand in work because it’s not perfect. They are the kids that don’t participate, are frequently absent and know the nurse by her first name.

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PSP 044: Just Right OCD: What it is and Why it is Misunderstood and Mislabeled as Perfectionism or Sensory Processing Disorder

PSP 044: Just Right OCD: What it is and Why it is Misunderstood and Mislabeled as Perfectionism or Sensory Processing Disorder

Your child is erasing and rewriting their homework…again. She is asking you over and over again if her answers sound right. She checks and rechecks that you understand what she is trying to tell you. Is she a perfectionist? Or could it be something more? Your son tightens one shoe and then the other. “No!” He shouts. The left one is not as tight as the right. He unties the shoes and begins again. Tying and tying. Over and over again. Does he have Sensory Processing Disorder or could it be something different? Just Right OCD is often missed. It can look like so many other issues.

So what is Just Right OCD and how do you help kids who have it? Let’s talk…

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PSP 043: Do You Blame Yourself for Your Child’s Anxiety and OCD? Why That’s not Good for You or Your Child.

PSP 043: Do You Blame Yourself for Your Child’s Anxiety and OCD? Why That’s not Good for You or Your Child.

For some reason as parents we tend to feel this unrealistic weight and responsibility for everything that happens to our children. They got sick? What did we do to not keep them healthy? They got in a fight? Why didn’t we teach them how to solve their problems better? They are struggling in school? Why didn’t we enroll them in pre-school when they were in utero? So, I guess it makes sense that when our kids get anxiety and OCD we throw ourselves under the bus for that as well.

Sadly though, all this self-depreciation not only makes us less effective as a parent, but it hurts our kids with anxiety and OCD as well.

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 53: Helping Kids with Their Fear of Needles & Shots

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 53: Helping Kids with Their Fear of Needles & Shots

Sure, nobody likes shots. But your child goes ballistic at just the mere mention of shots. Their fear of needles is so intense that it takes a small army to hold them down and get the job done. You find yourself just avoiding the whole thing if possible. But even if you decide to avoid shots altogether (which is not the subject of this episode and let’s not make it that), there are still medical mysteries that only our blood can reveal. Our blood that is trapped behind layers of skin. Skin that has to be poked to figure those mysteries out.

So how do you help kids who have a fear of needles? Here is where to start…

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PSP 042: How to Help Kids with Intrusive Thoughts

PSP 042: How to Help Kids with Intrusive Thoughts

Anxiety is not always visible. It is not always obvious. Sometimes it is silently attacking your child from the inside out. It makes itself cozy in a child’s mind that is already filled with doubt and insecurity. Intrusive thoughts are confusing to kids. They are scary to kids. Heck, they are scary for parents. So how do you help your child deal with them? It is the opposite of what you may think…

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 52: What to Do When Anxiety Gives Your Child a Bad Attitude

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 52: What to Do When Anxiety Gives Your Child a Bad Attitude

Your child stands there with their arms crossed. This is dumb. This is stupid. I don’t want to go. You never. She never. I never. It’s not fair. You’re not fair. Life is not fair. I hate this. I hate her. I hate you. It is as if someone hijacked your sweet child and replaced them with a ball of negativity. A ball of black darkness that you want to run and hide from. A ball of bad attitude that has the power of permeating your house and everyone in it.

Child anxiety and OCD not only overwhelms a child, but it can sour a child. It can suck the joy out of everything, leaving behind a child who is so miserable, they rarely see the sparkle of life anymore.

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