When Feeling Bad Is Good

Many years ago, I read a book by Ellen McGrath with the same title as this blog. McGrath’s focus was on recognizing that the early signs of depression could be a good thing, a warning sign that help is needed. Recently, I revisited this idea since so many people are talking about the depression they feel arising from world and national events that are troubling. I think all of us can agree that war, isolation from a pandemic, and lack of civility in politics does not make the world an easier … [Read more...]

Helping Your Anxious Child When School Re-Opens

For children who already struggled with anxiety, the Covid-19 pandemic has added another layer of worries. And for those kids who were not worriers, this time being home-bound may have started them on some fears that we never anticipated. For both groups, however, going back to school may have caused similar concerns. Recently, a middle-school child told me, “I can’t imagine wearing a mask for hours! At least at home, I don’t have to wear one. And when we go out, I only have to wear it for a … [Read more...]

Helping Anxious Kids During the Time of Coronavirus

Most of the time, children are resilient.  They bounce back pretty quickly.  Of course, there are always those kids who have a harder time with change or with difficult circumstances, kids that Dr. Thomas Boyce refers to as the “orchids” in the greenhouse They are the ones who are more sensitive to their environment than usual and require more attention than the average child.  Understanding the Orchid Child    Today, however, it may feel like every child is an orchid.  With the coronavirus … [Read more...]

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

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

  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...]