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Crucial Advice for Parents: The Secrets to Recognizing
Anxiety in your Kids and Teens
Some kids worry much more than their peers about their grades, boyfriends, their looks and their popularity. If
you are an over- anxious parent, the chances that you have such a kid are increased.
If you, as a parent, communicate to them your own nervousness and preoccupation about their performance frequently
then the odds are increased that, even if they were originally quite normal and sanguine, they will become nervous,
short-fused and abnormally worried. Kids and teens raised in a functional, healthy family environment are much more
likely to view their world in a much more normal, realistic way and not experience oppressive forms of anxiety.
However, abnormally anxious kids manifest perfectionist traits, including omnipresent self-doubt, that will require
you to provide excessive amounts of reassurance to soothe them.
Of course, not all manifestations of anxiety are abnormal; most are in fact, normal and these children usually grow
out of their anxiety.
However, it is important that you monitor their anxious symptoms and coping skills to determine whether or not they
may need help.
For example, if your child appears excessively worried or painfully preoccupied about the degree of organization or
neatness in his room, take note. Pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and obsessive-compulsive personality
(OCP) are two maladies that afflict children and teens.
Hopefully, you just have an organized, fairly fastidious kid.
But it is important to be sufficiently observant to assess the degree to which he feels compelled to worry about
organization or neatness.
If he is so compelled that it is irrational and impairs the quality of his life, then it could very well be a sign
of an anxiety disorder. Obsessive thoughts are repetitive and are strong enough to cause your child to repetitively
engage in irrational, anxiety-saturated, compulsive behaviors that are fueled by a particularly compelling form of
For example, keeping those lines in a picture exactly straight and having to re-do them over and over until they
are perfect, for no rational reason, are manifestations of desperate attempts to quash the feelings of irrational
anxiety. Signs of anxiety In children can be easier to diagnose than in adults because kids have a spontaneity of
spirit and honesty of expression usually lacking in adults.
For example, if they feel anxious about a bully at school, or about having to recite the multiplication tables,
kids will often communicate it directly to their parents and not censor it out.
To help your anxiety-disposed child or adolescent, it is important to be supportive of his feelings without
enabling the problem.
It is crucial that you treat the authentic anxiety that your kid is experiencing with genuine respect. Statements
to the effect of "just get over it" or "don't be silly" communicates a disrespect that will only make your anxious
child more anxious.
Because of using such a flawed response, your kid is likely to become much more resistant to honestly talking to
you if symptoms of his anxiety persist or worsen. IMPORTANT: Never dismiss or pooh-pooh your kid's worries
and, conversely, don't enable their symptoms by over-protecting them.
Respect your kid's emotional discomfort, but support their recovery by encouraging them to work-through it by
fulfilling their responsibilities anyway. Maintaining a log of your child's symptoms can be an important diagnostic
Often you will be able to recognize symptoms of your child's anxiety. However, some signs are so subtle, that a
diagnosable form of anxiety may not be identified and, therefore, not treated.
In therapy, many people report being anxious at school and during their childhood. Of course, many kids express
nervousness and anxiety about taking tests, being successful in sports and giving a speech in class; and the
anxiety experienced in these areas are mostly normal.
However, abnormally anxious kids experience these types of worries as well. Therefore, it can be revealing for you,
as a parent, to maintain a symptom log detailing how your child or teenager responds to other potentially
If you record a normal response to your kid's fear of giving a speech in class, no problem. However, if you start
recording exaggerated or alarmist responses, you'll have an excellent record, should you decide to consult a
therapist, in assisting him to make a complete assessment of the problem.
Mental Health and Counseling
Management and ADHD
Dr. Mike Shery is a
licensed clinical psychologist and is affiliated with almost all health plans,
including: ValueOptions, Medicare, Cigna,
Coventry, Cigna Behavioral Health, United Health Care, Aetna-Allied, First Health, Healthstar,
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, ComPsych, Magellan Health, Meridian, HFN, Tricare, Humana,
most union local plans, most school district plans, Unicare, ChoiceCare, CAPP, Multiplan, Mental
Health Network, Managed Health Network, United Behavioral Health, PPONext, Private Health Care
Systems, Humana-Military and Beech Street .
He has practiced
clinical psychology for approximately 30 years and is board certified as a specialist in professional counseling by the International Academy of
Behavioral Medicine, Counseling and Psychotherapy. He is the director of Affiliated
Counseling and Referral Services and is a member of the American Counseling Association.
The office is located
in Cary, IL and in select cases phone consultations are available for those who don’t live
locally> Telephone Counseling.
To make an
appointment> New Patient Registration or to learn more about the psychological services
he provides call him at 1-847-275-8236 (24