How to Handle When You and Your Child Both have Anxiety or OCD Anxiety and OCD are both highly genetic, so it’s not surprising that many parents find themselves raising kids with similar issues. Often though, many of us back burner our own help to focus on our children’s needs. But what if focusing on your needs also helps your child’s struggles? In this episode […]
Why Anxiety or OCD Therapy is Not Enough for Our Kids Many of us think that if only we can find a qualified anxiety or OCD child therapist, all of our child’s struggles would go away. I wish that were true. I wish that was the case for the children that I have treated and for my own children. But the truth is, as parents […]
How to Help Kids with Anxiety or OCD When They are Angry Kids with anxiety or OCD aren’t just fearful, often they are angry. Anxiety and OCD can cause kids to rage, meltdown and talk back. It can make them dig their heels in and be oppositional. But when parents react to those behaviors in “typical” ways, they often hit a brick wall. Why? Because […]
How to Help Kids Who Worry They Will Never Fall Asleep “But what if I don’t fall asleep?” That’s a question many of us hear from our anxious kids at bedtime. The ironic thing is, the more a child worries they won’t fall asleep, the harder it actually is to do it! So how do you get your kids out of this vicious loop? […]
Empowering Our Kids with Anxiety or OCD to Help Themselves We want the best for our kids. We want our kids to blossom and live a happy fulfilling life. But when our kids start to struggle with anxiety or OCD we might think that rosy picture is gone forever. We might think we have to “cure” anxiety or OCD for them to be well again. […]
Helping Anxious Kids Who Crumble Under Pressure Anxious kids crumble under pressure for a variety of reasons. They might worry about deadlines and school work. They might worry about the social pressures of being called on or being watched. They might fear being less than perfect or being worse than others. They might have difficulties making decisions, worried about picking the wrong choice. In this […]
How to Help Anxious Kids Help Themselves It is hard to watch our anxious kids suffer. It is hard to stomach their pain. It is very tempting to swoop in and protect them. To soften their fall. To protect them from feeling discomfort. But that is robbing them of the opportunity to build their skills. I find that the best way to help anxious kids […]
A house packed with friends and family. Music blaring. Relatives beckoning and begging for tight hugs. It can sound like a hallmark card for most people, but for anxious kids it can be a living nightmare. Seriously. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can help anxious kids survive the holidays with some proactive planning!
How to Help Anxious Kids Deal with Big Family Gatherings It’s that time of year again. Big family gatherings. Cue up the noise, the chaos, the triggers and the picky eating. Perhaps you might even get a side dish of insensitive comments or unsolicited judgement. Does your heart start palpitating just at the thought? If so, you are not alone. I often get asked how […]
Raising an anxious child is hard. I mean really hard. I get it, I have three of them. I also get it because anxious kids and exhausted parents come into my office day after day. I hear the same stories over and over. I see the same struggles rearing its ugly head.
You are not alone.
The only constant in life is change. That’s not good news for our anxious kids. Even small changes can cause anxious children to go into a tailspin. So how can you help anxious kids deal with all the changes life will throw at them?
Your child is standing there, white-knuckled and pale as a ghost. “I can’t do it,” they whisper. “I’m scared.” You are about to offer words of encouragement when your partner chimes in. “Stop playing games and just do it!” You feel your stomach drop. You give your partner the death glare, but it has little effect as the tirade continues. “I’m tired of this! Just do it or you are grounded.” You stare at your child, wide-eyed and paralyzed with fear. You have two problems. A child with debilitating anxiety and a partner who doesn’t believe in anxiety disorders. What are you supposed to do with that?!
There were three words that would stop me dead in my tracks as a kid – We. Are. Moving. I didn’t handle change well and unfortunately my parents didn’t handle stability well. It was a bad combination for an anxious kid like me. I also felt silently overwhelmed when our family dog died, when I changed schools, when my parents got divorced and all the life that happened in between. So, how should parents help anxious kids deal with such big life changes? I can tell you what I tell parents in my therapy practice and privately what I wish my own parents would have done as well.
I wake up and reach for my phone. Breaking news headlines scream for my attention. Not again, I think. How many tragedies do we need to witness? How many mass shootings and bombings do my children need to live through? It doesn’t help that I have three anxious kids. Anxiety feeds off these headlines. Thrives off these dark moments of time. It has the power to ruin any progress a child has made crushing their anxiety .So how do we handle the situation? Do we tell our anxious kids what has happened? How do we minimize the impact it has on their already fragile view of life’s dangers?
We can’t ignore these life events, but we can frame it in a way that minimizes the long-term impact. Here’s how…