Childhood Anxiety / OCD
- Melts down easily.
- Has a tantrum if things aren’t “just right”.
- Seems to want to control EVERYTHING.
- Has to do things again and again until it is perfect.
- Can’t sleep in their own bed alone – even though you want him/her to.
- Doesn’t want to leave your side.
- Is afraid to try new things, such as food, sports or experiences.
- Is defiant, uncooperative or even manipulative.
If so, it is possible that your child might have a highly sensitive system and/or might be dealing with some feelings of anxiety. This does not necessarily mean that your child has an anxiety disorder, but that your child might be dealing with some of feelings of anxiety that they don’t yet know how to manage.
The good news – there is help! There are a LOT of things we can do to empower your child with tools to manage feelings of anxiety and overwhelm! The wise, warm and caring therapists on our team can help your child begin to identify the events that trigger their “Worry Monster” – as a way of “externalizing” the feeling of anxiety. Our therapists can help your child talk back to the Worry Monster, or learn to soothe it – whichever is your child’s preference. Our therapists can also offer mindfulness and relaxation tools, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and even Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – which can help shift the neural pathways in the brain towards greater mental health and wellness.
Not only is there help for your child, but there is also loving support and guidance for you, the committed, loving parent! our team will work with you, the parent, to help you cultivate compassionate awareness and to discern the difference between “Helpful help” vs. “Unhelpful help”. We will help you to learn to set “loving limits” while listening to your child’s feelings, saying “Yes” to their feelings while saying “No” to their behavior. And we will encourage you to “paint a positive path forward” for your child, instead of telling them (and yourself) a terrifying story about their future.
When our children get overwhelmed by worry, it can have a tremendous impact on our life, as their loving parent. Worry sets off the fight or flight response – not only in our children, but also in us – as the adoring parent – as we witness our children getting overtaken by a big wave of worry! And when our fight or flight system gets triggered as the parent – we usually do one of two things: 1) we get angry (fight), or 2) we throw our hands up, turn our heads away and walk out (flight), leaving our anxious child alone to confront the big, old “worry monster” all by themselves. While both of these reactions are completely understandable, neither of them is helpful. Indeed, both of these reactions unknowingly fuel the worry cycle, and create an ongoing dynamic that tends to increase anxiety in our kids. And this cycle can be exhausting for everyone involved.
There is hope. We can help. CLICK HERE to read about a helpful way to introduce the idea of therapy to your child or teen.
RECOMMENDED VIDEOS BY JACLYN LONG:
Watch these videos by Jaclyn Long on intervening effectively with your anxious child:
“Supporting Anxious Kids” – Jaclyn Long
“Supporting our kids with Anxiety Part 2” – Jaclyn Long
RECOMMENDED RESOURCES FOR PARENTS OF ANXIOUS CHILDREN:
8 Ways a Child’s Anxiety Shows Up – Renee Jain
Anxiety, Worry, OCD & Panic Attacks – Lauren Callaghan & Adam Shaw
Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents – Reid Wilson, Lynn Lyons
The Opposite of Worry – Lawrence Cohen
Listen – Patty Wipfler & Tosha Schore
When a Family Member Has OCD – Jon Hershfield and Jeff Bell
Dear Anxiety (Podcast) – Renee Jain
RECOMMENDED BOOKS FOR ANXIOUS KIDS:
Outsmarting Worry – Dawn Huebner
What To Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck (For OCD) – Dawn Huebner and Bonnie Matthews
Talking Back To OCD – John March and Christine Benton
Teen Poetry & Creative Expression
Here is a poem written during our session by a teenager I worked with who was exploring more compassionate ways of relating to herself at the time. (Permission given to post on the website.)
Human minds fall to
The worst alternate universes
For what may occur
For it cannot get worse from there,
We tell ourselves.
We are frightened of getting hurt.
It is important to step back,
use common sense
Instead of pondering what we’ll lack
And clean away heavy gloom,
Looking more light-heartedly at what
wonders may take place
Giving a cheerful aspect
to the events that stress and simper
At the back of your mind.
Your house will not burn down to the ground
If an exam is failed.
We must leap up to the platform of best dreams
and if we fall, then we shall smile,
For when it’s back in bed we lay,
we decide that that was a bit far-fetched anyway.