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?

Read More

Dealing With a Panic Attack At School: Proven Strategies That Work

Dealing With a Panic Attack At School: Proven Strategies That Work

Nobody enjoys having a panic attack…

But they're particularly awful when they happen at school. On top of experiencing all of those physical symptoms - shortness of breath, tense muscles, pounding heart - you're worried about how other people will respond to you. 

One of the most helpful first steps is to find a calm area, alone, and go there.

This can be as simple as leaving to use the restroom and finding a stall to sit in - you can always let your teacher know you had to leave for the restroom, and few people will want any details if that's your excuse. 

In the moment, try to ground yourself.

I like to use the 5 Senses Scavenger Hunt - name one thing that you see, one thing that you hear, one thing that you smell, one thing that you can physically touch, and check in with how your mouth tastes. This helps bring you back into your body and the moment. 

Next, try focusing on slowing your breathing.

Try breathing in through your nose for

Read More

Talking With Your Pediatrician About Anxiety

Talking With Your Pediatrician About Anxiety

Stomach aches and headaches and anxiety in kids:

When does anxiety in children become a medical concern?

You may notice that your child is a worrier. When you schedule a babysitter, your kid has prepared a list of interview questions to ask the sitter before being ok with it. When you're 5 minutes late to picking them up, they're in tears. They need to walk through any potential problems and come up with five solutions whenever faced with a new situation. You're happy to help! But when is it too much?

Anxiety is a concern when it gets in the way of "typical" functioning.

While some kids are more prone to worries than others, anxiety becomes a concern when it impacts their day-to-day functioning. So, instead of being in tears that you're five minutes late, they've had a huge blow-up and are waiting for you in the principal's office. Or, walking in to school on the first day, they're paralyzed and can't move from your side. They have trouble maintaining friendships. They consistently experience stomachaches and headaches, due to their ongoing stress.

Read More

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.

Read More

What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?

What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?

Generalized anxiety disorder is the diagnostic name for kids, teens, and adults who meet the criteria. Oftentimes people will say they have anxiety, or general anxiety, without quite meaning that they meet all of the criteria. You can find a screening tool* for kids and for adults put together by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (*which gives you information, but you will want to meet with a counselor, social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist for a true screening). 

What makes anxiety a disorder?

Generally speaking, an anxiety disorder gets in the way of your everyday life, and is harder to manage. It comes up in multiple environments, so home and school, or work and home. 

Physical symptoms of anxiety - your body clues:

Read More