Anxious Parenting Series Week 3: Strategies for Parenting Anxious Pre-Schoolers and Elementary Schoolers

Anxious Parenting Series Week 3: Strategies for Parenting Anxious Pre-Schoolers and Elementary Schoolers

“My child won’t go to school anymore - now what?”

Children with anxiety often have trouble in the school setting, regardless of how that anxiety is presenting. You may have a child with separation anxiety, generalized anxiety, or specific fears about the school environment. All three of these diagnoses can play out in a myriad of ways - but regardless of how the anxiety looks, it can leave you feeling helpless as a parent.

Anxiety often becomes more noticeable in elementary school, because of the environment.

There’s a huge switch from getting to stay at home or in a small daycare to having to attend school 5 days of the week.

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Anxious Parenting Series

Anxious Parenting Series

“Am I making my child’s anxiety worse?”

“I always was anxious as a kid, and so I’m worried my child gets it from me.”

“I have anxiety, too, so I know it’s my fault.”

Parents often call me with these questions and comments. As a parent, it can be hard when you see your child struggling with the exact same issues that you had. You want to help them, and you also feel a little bit…guilty. Maybe it’s your fault they’re this way.

But it’s really not your fault

And feeling guilty, even if it makes sense, doesn’t make things easier. So let’s take a step back and figure out what is leading to your child’s anxiety in the first place.

Starting next week, we’ll begin our 8 week series on anxiety and parenting - and there’s a lot that we’ll be digging into:

  1. The Building Blocks of Anxiety

  2. Managing Your Own Anxiety as a Parent

  3. Parenting Anxious Pre-Schoolers and Elementary Schoolers

  4. Anxiety and Parenting a Child with Anger Management Issues (spoiler: it’s probably anxiety related as well!)

  5. Perfectionism and Parenting Your Highschooler

  6. Preparing Your Highschooler for College

  7. Out of the Nest: How to Parent Your Anxiety-Driven College Student

  8. Moving Forward and Next Steps

That’s a lot of info… so why am I covering all of this?

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Meditation at Home: Part Two

Meditation at Home: Part Two

Last week we talked about meditation at home vs. trying out a meditation class as a family.

For those of you who want to give meditation a try (and recognize it’s benefits for anxiety, anger management, and building compliance in your little ones), read on!

Floating leaves meditation:

Meditation practice is a huge part of what we work on in therapy. One of my favorite guided meditations that I utilize is called the floating leaves meditation. Rather than trying to switch your brain off or stop all thoughts, you want to just let them float by. 

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How to Banish Toxic Thoughts (The Big Secret That ACT Therapists Want You To Know)

How to Banish Toxic Thoughts (The Big Secret That ACT Therapists Want You To Know)

Recently, a journalist had reached out to therapists asking them for their top tips on how to banish toxic thoughts.

She had asked, for 2019, the top thoughts to banish and never think of again.

The problem? Banishing thoughts DOESN’T WORK!

From an acceptance and commitment therapy perspective, it’s actually a lot more useful to focus on allowing these thoughts to happen rather than banishing them.

You can let them pass you by, and come up with something that may feel more helpful, but telling a thought to STOP is like getting into a finger trap. The more and more you pull away, the tighter and tighter the thought holds on. 

When you fight a thought, you’re giving that thought so much more power than it actually has.

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How Much Privacy Should You Give Your Teen?

How Much Privacy Should You Give Your Teen?

How much privacy should you give your children, and how does this vary by age?

As your child gets older, you should increase the amount of privacy they have, while still monitoring what's going on. We need to teach our teenagers increased independence, and part of this involves increased responsibility and less checking in. However, if your teen is breaking agreed upon family rules about curfew or location, I do think it's ok for parents to supply a logical consequence: increased monitoring.

Should you let your children know about the tracking devices you put on their phones?

The fact of the matter is, kids and teens can be pretty good at hiding things if they don't trust you to handle the information the way they want you to. So rather than sneaking around, I encourage parents to be very upfront about privacy policies in their house.

This can involve rules like, "We'll put a tracker on your phone, and we'll monitor it once on the weekends." Or "We're allowed to check your texts each night at a set time."

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