When Children and Teens Have Social Anxiety, How Can Parents Help?

Excluded child

Paula is a pretty, bright and talented high school student.  She is anxious about going out, even with people she knows, believing she might say the wrong thing or do something to embarrass herself.  Sometimes she even worries about whether her friends are really her friends. Shawn is a good athlete. He mostly keeps to himself and has twice turned down chances to be a team captain for soccer.    As much as he would like to have fun with the guys on his team, who not only respect his skills on … [Read more...]

Just Let Them Play

Child with leaves

  While this is not new information, it bears repeating.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children have time for play.  What do we mean by play?  It means time to create their own games with parents or other children, time to be outside in an unstructured way, time to be creative in the house with crafts, playing with blocks or other toys that allow for creativity and fun.  Play is a way to spend time that is unbounded and unscheduled, to develop curiosity and discover new … [Read more...]

Understanding Social Anxiety Disorder

asking-questions

“What is the matter with you!” Judy says to her friend Brittney. “I take you to Red Bank for lunch with some friends from school and you don’t say a word all afternoon. I feel like whenever I go out with you if other people are around I have to be the one to make all of the conversation. “   Judy may sound angry, but in fact, she is worried about her friend. They are entering high school and Judy wants to widen her social circle but does not want to leave Brittney behind. But no matter who it … [Read more...]

New Year’s Resolutions that Lead to Happier Parents and Children

3 generations of family

Often, I meet with parents who are struggling with their children’s misbehavior and with feelings of failure as a parent. I point out to them that their own schooling did not teach parenting skills. Most parents do the best they can with the skills that they have. They often model these skills on what they have learned from their parents. So what can you do to make the year ahead a better one for you and for your children?   • Be aware of your own feelings and if they are negative, … [Read more...]

Conquering Back-to-School Anxiety

School looks

     Many children experience anxiety prior to the start of the school year, and for some of them, it continues well into the first marking period.  This anxiety is not limited to elementary school children; it can affect middle school and even high school students. Your child’s anxiety can lead to resistance and lateness in the mornings, arguments about having to go to school, tears or emotional withdrawal.  You want to help your child but what should you do? Here are some ideas … [Read more...]