Category Archives: Anxiety

Is Your Child’s Anxiety Making You Feel Anxious?

My friend Cindy recently invited me to attend a screening of the film “Angst” at her daughter’s school. “Angst” is a film that explores the causes, and effects, of anxiety and offers resources and strategies to counter the challenges of anxiety. Children and teens who suffer, or who have suffered, from anxiety give candid interviews in the film and share how anxiety affects their lives. “Angst” is definitely worth seeing as it conveys how truly exhausting every day can feel for young people with anxiety.

How can you tell whether your child’s level of anxiety is typical and appropriate, or something that a parent should be concerned about?

Typical anxiety is an expected response to a potentially stressful situation and it doesn’t happen very often. Typical anxiety can morph into an anxiety problem when a child’s intense feelings of worry last for an extended period of time and are out of proportion to the actual situation.

For example, typical anxiety is feeling nervous about an upcoming test and the anxiety decreases as soon as the test is over. But with an anxiety problem, a child may feel nervous about a test AND feel nervous every single morning before school AND feel worried about a weekend birthday party AND feel anxious about a trip scheduled six months in the future. Further, children and teens with an anxiety disorder may have physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches and trouble sleeping.

What can you do?

Take your child’s fears seriously but express your confidence in her ability to handle the situation. Remind your child of past successes and what strategies have worked in the past.

Try to avoid unintentionally rewarding your child’s anxiety. For example, allowing your
child to miss a field trip or to stay home from school on a test day. By doing so, you are
conveying the unspoken message that your child’s fears are well-founded because
your child knows that you would make them go to school and take the test, or attend the
field trip if you thought it was truly safe.

And once you allow a child to miss an event that is making him anxious, your child
knows that opting out is definitely an option for future events.

The key is to ask yourself: Is my child’s anxiety interfering with his or her functioning in everyday life?

If you think your child’s anxiety rises to the level of a problem, I suggest you consider having him evaluated by a mental health professional.  Your child can learn coping strategies that you can practice at home and that will make life easier for your child.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your child’s anxiety, I am here to help! I can offer you strategies that will decrease your own anxiety and will allow you to teach your child coping strategies. Please give me a call at 310-849-6751 or email me at

Best,                                                                                                                                                                                         Jeri

Is Your Child’s Anxiety Making You Anxious?

Parenting an anxious child can cause great anxiety for parents! Keep in mind that your child’s anxiety is NOT a reflection of your parenting. But an anxious child can add additional stress to the day-to-day life of a family.

Anxiety is a normal part of childhood and every child will probably go through a phase of mild to moderate anxiety. But when a child’s anxiety causes him or her to avoid places and activities, then it is time to offer assistance to overcome this challenge.

For example: Your child watches a scary movie. A child may experience temporary fear and anxiety causing trouble with falling asleep that night. But, he or she can be comforted that evening and the movie will be mostly forgotten the next day. In contrast, a child who struggles with anxiety will have great difficulty getting past the fear that evening, and will still have sleep issues for many nights, or even weeks, subsequently.

A 2012 study of 200 kindergartners by researchers at the University of British Columbia revealed that a two question test was 85% effective to identify “moderate to severe” anxiety in children. The two questions were:

  1. Is your chid more shy/anxious than other children his or her age?
  2. Is your child more worried than other children his or her age?

A “yes” response to either question resulted in an 85% degree of predictability that the child will go on to struggle with anxiety in their elementary school years. The anxiety most likely will present itself in frequent stomachaches, sleep issues, refusal to go to birthday parties and an unwillingness to go on field trips.

The downside to labeling a child as “anxious” is that parents tend to become over-protective. The child’s anxiety becomes a reason for withdrawing from school activities and social events – which in turn can make the anxiety even more deep-seated.

The upside to early identification is that parents can learn strategies to help reduce their child’s anxiety. One such strategy is positive self-talk. So instead of telling your child that, “We are just a family of worriers,” you can teach your child to internalize positive affirmations such as, “I can be brave and confident no matter what!”

If you would like to learn more strategies to help your child to reduce his or level of anxiety,  I am here to help! Please give me a call at 310-849-6751 or send me an email at

All my best,                                                                                                                                                                     Jeri