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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 anxiety.

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 tool.

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 problematic situations.

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.

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About The Author

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 Hrs).


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In-Office Services are located in Cary, Illinois and are convenient if you're coming from: 

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