Your child is paralyzed. She stares at the bathroom door unable to go through. She grabs the door handle with her shirt, fumbling to get it open. You’ve watched her wash her hands until they are raw. It seems like most questions that come out of her mouth are about germs. What is going on with her? This new fear of germs is taking over her life. How can you help?
The hair on the back of her neck is standing up. Her stomach feels weird. She doesn’t like how he is staring at her. She has a weird gut feeling, but she doesn’t know what it is. “Go hug your Uncle Victor,” her mom says. She nervously shakes her head no. “Don’t be rude! Go hug him!” her mom demands.
Your child is imploding. You stand there in disbelief. What happened? You run through the last ten minutes in your head looking for the trigger, the spark that lit this fiery storm. Like a needle in a haystack, your mental search is futile. You come up empty handed – again. Meltdowns and poor behavior are becoming par for the course in your home.
You want to throw the parenting rule book at him. You want to strip him of every privilege and shut this nasty party down. But this isn’t your first rodeo. You’ve been here many times before and you know how it goes. This isn’t your ordinary, run of the mill poor behavior. These aren’t your typical meltdowns. These meltdowns are born from a build up of anxiety. A build up a stress. A build up of such strong emotion there should have been an emergency alert before it hit your home.
“Oh no,” her mom says. “There is no way she’s an introvert. She isn’t afraid to talk to people.” I think to myself, another person who doesn’t get introverts. Sometimes I feel like introverts are the most misunderstood people on this planet. Reserved kids aren’t necessarily shy kids. I know that those two words may seem synonymous, but they aren’t. Introverted or reserved kids aren’t always shy. They aren’t always afraid to interact with people. Some kids just prefer one-on-one interactions. Some kids just prefer less environmental chaos.
I get introverts. I get reserved kids. They are my people. Let me help you get them as well.
Your child screams, “I hate you!” She rolls her eyes and tells you, “No!” You feel your composure slipping away as she spits out her final words. In one fell swoop she has made you feel enraged and completely ineffective. You wonder, where did I go wrong? And why on earth does she feel she can talk back to me?
You tell your child to pick up their clothes and they crumble to the ground. “Why are you shouting at me!” They exclaim. Seriously? You just asked them to pick up their clothes. It seems like you can’t even redirect your anxious kid without them imploding. So what are you supposed to do? Not discipline? Walk on eggshells? Is that helpful or hurtful to them long-term?
It started about a month ago. My daughter came home from school and wanted a “fidget spinner.” She thought it might help with her anxiety. I had heard of fidget toys, but never a fidget spinner. As a child therapist I am normally ahead of the curve with kid crazes, but not this one.
In this episode I talk about the overlap between sensory processing issues and child anxiety. Many anxious children also have sensory issues as well.
Your child is doing it again. They are walking in a weird pattern. They are paralyzed in front of the sink. They are asking the same question over and over again, and you can’t make them stop. You’ve poured over all the typical parenting books, but this chapter is definitely missing. What are you supposed to do? How are you supposed to help your child get unstuck? It is painful to watch any child with OCD, but when it’s your own, it’s excruciating.
It sounds like World War 3 in the other room. Words are flying. Fists are flying. You hope one of your offspring will survive. The sound of my kids fighting is like nails to the chalkboard. “Make it stop!” I plead to no one in particular. Even if I said it out loud, I doubt any of them would be able to hear me over the blood curdling screams.
In this episode of the AT Parenting Survival Podcast we talk about the many “good” things we do as parents that can actually hurt a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Here are five of them and what to do instead!
“But mama I no want to go…” your child pleads with you, his bottom lip puffed out for effect.
“You have to go,” you firmly state.
“Noooo. I don’t wannnnt toooo!” Your child whines.
You know what will happen next. You’ve done this dance before. And frankly, you are tired of dancing. You want your child to stop whining. You want your child to talk like he isn’t still in diapers. You can’t stomach anymore baby talk and the whining is slowly crushing your soul. “Make it stop!” You scream silently in your head.
It is that time again. Didn’t we just do this twenty-four hours ago? Your heart starts to beat a bit faster as you prepare for the nightly battle that is about to ensue. Getting your kids to do homework is akin to getting your wisdom teeth pulled and frankly – you rather skip both. “I don’t want to do it!” your daughter screams. “That’s not how she taught us! You don’t get it.” complains your son. Since when did getting your kids to do homework become such a ridiculous chore? Don’t let homework battles destroy your family’s peace. Wave the white flag and take a break to watch this.