Ask the Child Therapist Episode 45: OCD Symptoms in Teens: Are you Missing the Signs?

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 45: OCD Symptoms in Teens: Are you Missing the Signs?

“He’s really oppositional!” The mom vents. “Honestly it takes a miracle to get him to do anything. Don’t even get me started on how long it takes him to get out of the house in the morning.” She takes a breath and continues, “And no one can go into his room. One time I entered his room without his permission and he had a complete meltdown.” This is often my initial introduction to a teen whose main issue isn’t opposition, but rather OCD. OCD symptoms in teens are often misconstrued as oppositional or quirky behavior.

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PSP 033: How to Help Kids Who are Afraid of Storms

PSP 033: How to Help Kids Who are Afraid of Storms

Your son peeks his head out the window. His face pales. “Mom, is it supposed to rain today?” You look out the window. You see only one lonely cloud in the sky. “I don’t think so.” You respond. But you realize too late that your answer only fueled his concern. “You’re not sure?” He whines. You take a deep breath and prepare for the unraveling to begin. He does not disappoint. You know lots of kids are afraid of storms, but your child takes his fear to another level.

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 43: When is it Time to Consider Anxiety or OCD Medication for Kids?

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 43: When is it Time to Consider Anxiety or OCD Medication for Kids?

Your child is balled up on the floor – again. She has been like this for hours. Nothing you do or say seems to penetrate her wall of pure terror. You remind her of all the tools she’s learned in therapy, but the words just drip off her limp body. It looks like another school day will be passing her by. How long can this go on? When should you start considering anxiety and OCD medication for her?

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PSP 031: How to Help Socially Anxious Kids

PSP 031: How to Help Socially Anxious Kids

Another school year is upon us. You hold your breath. Who will your socially anxious child cling to this year? No matter how much you encourage your child to make lots of friends, inevitably your child is like Velcro to one kid the entire year. You know your child is socially anxious, but how are you supposed to help? What is the problem with making more than one friend? After all, you don’t remember struggling like this. Are there more things you can be doing?

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 41: Preparing Anxious Kids for the First Day of Kindergarten

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 41: Preparing Anxious Kids for the First Day of Kindergarten

It seems like just yesterday you were wiping her bottom and picking up Cheerios off the floor. And now you are scrolling down the grocery aisle going through the list of school supplies, trying to find an 8 pack of washable markers. When did this happen? When you look at your daughter she still looks so young. Is she ready for the stream of kids and chaos school will bring? Is there anything you should be doing to prepare her for the first day of kindergarten?

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 40: How to Help Kids Who are Scared to Sleep

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 40: How to Help Kids Who are Scared to Sleep

It’s bedtime and instead of winding down, your house is winding up. “I’m scared,” you hear. “I’m too scared to sleep!” You hear over and over again. Your child pleads. Can they sleep with you? Can you sleep with them? Can they sleep on the couch next to you? You’ve tried everything. Threatening, negotiating, sympathizing…nothing works. Are you doomed to a life of sleepless nights or can this be fixed?

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PSP 028: Don’t Wait to Help Anxiety in Young Children

PSP 028: Don’t Wait to Help Anxiety in Young Children

Your child clings to you for dear life when anyone even glances her way. Trying something new is a major event. Your shadow is 3 ft tall and calls you mama. People tell you she’ll grow out of it. Your relatives whisper in silent judgment. But your gut instinct is telling you this isn’t your fault. Your gut instinct is telling you this isn’t right. Should you turn a blind eye and hope for the best or should you face this problem head on? What can be done for anxiety in young children? Can young kids even get anxious?

Yes, they can. Anxiety doesn’t have to be about life events. Sometimes it is about genetics. Anxiety is thought to have a strong genetic basis and can be passed along, just like blue eyes and blonde hair.

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 39: The Most Common Reasons Why Kids are Afraid to Sleep

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 39: The Most Common Reasons Why Kids are Afraid to Sleep

It’s bedtime. You are arming yourself for battle. You muster up all your energy. It’s going to be a long night. You are already running on fumes from the frequent interruptions in your sleep the night before. How long can you function like this? What on earth can make a child so afraid to sleep? Especially a child who has experienced nothing but security and stability?

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 38: Does Your Child Have a Fear of Animals or Insects – Learn How to Help Them.

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 38: Does Your Child Have a Fear of Animals or Insects – Learn How to Help Them.

Some kids beg their parents for a pet. Some kids love to dig for bugs. In your home, dogs and bugs are what keep your child up at night. Play dates are dictated by the size and existence of a friend’s pet. A relaxing day by the pool can be ruined by a traveling bee. Is this going to pass or will your child have a fear of animals and insects their whole life?

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PSP 026: When Sounds Cause a Child’s Brain to Rage: Understanding Misophonia Triggers

PSP 026: When Sounds Cause a Child’s Brain to Rage: Understanding Misophonia Triggers

It’s dinner time. You prepare for battle. You put the spaghetti down and find yourself tensing up. It doesn’t take long. One slurp. One fork scraping teeth. The screaming begins. The doors get slammed. Dinner is over. This happens every night. But, it’s not just dinner. There are many other sounds that cause your child to rage out of control. Misophonia has been destroying the peace in your house. Misophonia triggers are everywhere.

Misophonia triggers aren’t about noises being perceived as too loud (hyperacusis), it is about pattern-based noises triggering the limbic system, causing suffers to instantly feel rage, disgust and anxiety when exposed to certain noises.

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 37: Helping Kids Who Have a Fear of Germs

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 37: Helping Kids Who Have a Fear of Germs

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?

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PSP 024: How We Teach Our Kids to Not Trust Their Gut Feeling

PSP 024: How We Teach Our Kids to Not Trust Their Gut Feeling

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.

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Ask the Child Therapist Episode 35: Teaching Kids Social Skills | Helping Kids Thrive When They Have No Social Skills.

Ask the Child Therapist Episode 35: Teaching Kids Social Skills | Helping Kids Thrive When They Have No Social Skills.

Your daughter is a leg hugger, a wallflower, a blank staring mute when others are around. You watch as her personality literally melts away from her when she’s in public. Where did your crazy, free spirited child go? And who is this wilting flower that took her place? Your son has no filter. You cringe with anticipation at what he’ll say next. Personal space isn’t something he values – not his, not yours. You can see him rubbing people the wrong way, as he stands there clueless as to why they aren’t laughing back. There is no learning curve. You watch him destroy friendship after friendship. When a child has no social skills it can be painful to watch. Sometimes cringe worthy. Not everyone is born with social skills. It is a skill just like anything else and some kids need some social “tutoring.”

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PSP 023: When Anxiety and OCD Cause Poor Behavior & Meltdowns

PSP 023: When Anxiety and OCD Cause Poor Behavior & Meltdowns

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.

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PSP 022: Understanding Introverted and Reserved Kids: They Aren’t Always Shy!

PSP 022: Understanding Introverted and Reserved Kids: They Aren’t Always Shy!

“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.

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