Supporting Anxious Children
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Parenting Anxious Kids

Expert Tips from a Child Psychiatrist

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Games to Enhance Social Skills at Home

Strengthening Connections and Building Social Competence

As parents, we recognise the importance of nurturing our children’s social skills. These abilities not only enhance their interactions with others but also contribute to their overall well-being. Whether your child is neurotypical or neurodiverse, engaging in social activities can be both enjoyable and educational.

Role-Playing Conversations: This activity immerses your child in various scenarios, allowing them to step into the shoes of different characters. They’ll practice active listening and explore various conversational styles, fostering empathy and effective communication skills. It’s a fun way to experience different perspectives and understand the nuances of conversation.

“Would You Rather” Questions: This game is a catalyst for intriguing discussions! By posing thought-provoking questions like, “Would you rather explore outer space or dive into the deep ocean?” your child is...

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The Spider’s Web: A Metaphor for Mental Health

mental health Jun 16, 2024

The Spider’s Web: A Metaphor for Mental Health

In my garden, a spider spun its web, a marvel of strength and resilience. This sight sparked reflections on our mental health system and the wisdom we could glean from this simple spider’s web.

  1. Mental Health Web (MHW): Each strand of the web symbolizes a community stakeholder - parents, schools, neighbours, healthcare professionals, police, community services. Each strand facilitates information flow, fostering a dialogue that permeates in all directions. The web is a collective endeavour, not the work of a solitary spider.

  2. Independent Nodes: Each strand in the MHW functions autonomously, agilely responding to our community’s unique needs. This independence allows for quick adaptation, experimentation, and innovation, bypassing the need for central directives.

  3. Web’s Bulletin Board: A central bulletin board bolsters the web’s independent functioning by facilitating the sharing of successful...

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The Unforgettable Journey of a Mischievous Student

Uncategorized Jun 16, 2024

As I flipped through the worn-out pages of my old school yearbook, a wave of nostalgia washed over me. The memories of those golden days came flooding back, as vivid as if they had happened yesterday. We had a tradition back then, a poem that we wrote together, where each of us got a shout-out for what we were known for. And guess what? My tag was ‘naughty and loud’—a classic, right?

I was that kid—the one who always had something to say, the one who couldn’t sit still, the one who was always up for a bit of mischief. I even had a VIP seat right up front by Ms. Selby, the teacher who must’ve had the patience of a saint to put up with my antics. Does that sound like someone you know?

Ms. Selby was a gem, though. Her kindness probably kept me from bailing on school altogether. She saw something in me that others didn’t. She saw potential amidst the chaos. I bet if it was today, they’d slap an ADHD label on me in a heartbeat. (I know I...

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Supporting Anxious Neuroatypical Kids at School

Imagine a student who is the epitome of decorum and respect in school, but at home, they transform into a whirlwind of emotions. This scenario is not uncommon for neurodiverse children who often remain unnoticed in educational environments. They are like hidden icebergs, their struggles concealed beneath the surface, invisible to those unfamiliar with their circumstances.

 

These children often employ a strategy known as ‘masking’, where they exert significant mental energy to conceal their difficulties. Sometimes it’s a conscious effort; other times, it’s an instinctive defense mechanism. Their objective? To blend in, to appear ‘normal’, to avoid being singled out.

 

Unfortunately, neurodiverse children are more susceptible to mental health issues. So, how can we support them? Let’s delve into some strategies.

 

Building Bridges of Empathy

 

The first step is fostering open communication between parents and educators....

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Understanding Neurodiversity: A Parent’s Perspective

As parents, we often traverse the intricate landscape of child-rearing, equipped with a blend of instinct, generational wisdom, and expert guidance. However, when it comes to comprehending neurodiversity, it can feel as though we’re venturing into unknown terrain. This is primarily because neurodiversity, a relatively novel concept, challenges conventional perceptions of neurological development. It encourages us to shift our viewpoint from viewing certain neurological conditions as ‘disorders’ to recognising them as merely different ways of perceiving the world.

Understanding neurodiversity can be intimidating due to its extensive scope. It encompasses a broad range of neurological differences, each with its distinct characteristics and challenges. As parents, it’s vital for us to learn about these differences to support our children and advocate for them in various social environments like schools and local communities.

So, What is Neurodiversity?

...

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Fighting anxiety one step at a time: Graded Hierachies for Parents

 As parents, our role in our children’s lives is multifaceted, but perhaps the most crucial aspect is the bond we share with them. This connection is the foundation upon which we can build resilience against anxiety. Today, we’re sharing the Graded Hierarchy Method, a step-by-step approach that is supercharged by the strength of your relationship with your child.

 

The Cornerstone of Trust:

Before diving into the method, it’s essential to understand that trust and security are the currency of any relationship, especially with your anxious child. Like money in the bank, these elements of connection ensure that you have the emotional credit to support your child through the costly process of fighting anxiety. Without a strong bond, you risk overdrafting on this account, leading to potential damage or conflict within your relationship.

 

Understanding Anxiety Triggers:

Identifying what sparks your child’s anxiety is the first step. Here are...

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How concerned should I be about my children's mental health?

The Indispensable Role of Parents in Addressing Children’s Mental Health

Parents are not just caregivers; they are the pillars of support and the first line of defense in their children’s mental health. Their role is pivotal and multifaceted, and here’s why:

  1. Early Intervention: Parents, being the closest to their children, are often the first to notice any changes in their child’s behavior or mood. They can detect and address mental health issues at an early stage, leading to more effective treatment. This early intervention can prevent conditions from escalating, making parents a crucial part of the solution.

  2. Mitigating Long-term Impact: Childhood experiences can have a lasting impact on an individual’s future. Mental health problems during childhood can lead to challenges in adulthood, including difficulties with relationships, education, and employment. By being vigilant about their children’s mental health, parents can help them...

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Parenting: It’s Not a Sprint, It’s a Comedy Marathon!

Uncategorized May 27, 2024

Ever feel like you’re in a reality show where your kids are the judges? Well, Ohio State University has some news for you: “Ease up! Perfection is a myth!”

Trying to be the superhero of parenting is like signing up for a marathon without any training. It’s tiring, stressful, and honestly, who enjoys running that much? This “all or nothing” approach is not just unrealistic, it’s harmful to you and your little ones.

In a survey of over 700 parents (who were likely seeking refuge in the bathroom), 57% confessed to feeling burned out. That’s more than half! And here’s the twist: this burnout is linked to everything from our self-image as parents to the state of our homes. Who knew that laundry mountain could be so destructive?

And let’s discuss the impact on our kids. When they’re grappling with mental health issues, we feel the strain even more. It’s a relentless cycle of stress, stern parenting, and more stress....

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School Avoidance and Anxiety: A Collaborative Approach

anxiety school refusal May 15, 2024

School avoidance and anxiety are intricate challenges that necessitate a collective approach, uniting the child, family, school, and mental health professionals. In my experience, triumph is rarely accomplished without this joint effort.

The Emotional Toll of School Avoidance

School avoidance is an emotionally laden issue that can inflict significant distress on all parties involved. Parents often vacillate between feelings of confusion and frustration. One day everything appears fine, the next it’s in chaos. We might find ourselves exclaiming, ‘We’ve been through this!’, ‘You went yesterday’, ‘What’s the problem now?’ (expressing frustration rather than seeking the problem), ‘I need to get to work’, ‘Stop playing around. You are being selfish’, ‘This is unacceptable’, ‘If you don’t get in the car, I’m going to have to drag you kicking and screaming’. The guilt...

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School Bullying, Parental Anger, and the Power of Empathy

bullying empathy May 13, 2024

The issue of school bullying is one that can stir a tempest of emotions in the hearts of parents. Witnessing or learning about someone causing harm to your child can evoke a primal anger, a fierce protective instinct. However, in the midst of these stormy feelings, it's crucial to anchor ourselves with empathy and understanding, both for our children's sake and our own. Here's how we can navigate these turbulent waters, turning our anger into action and empathy into empowerment

Understanding Parental Anger

First, it's important to acknowledge that anger, in the face of your child's suffering, is a natural response. It signifies your deep love and concern. However, the way we handle this anger can make a significant difference in the outcome for our children. Anger, when channeled constructively, can motivate us to take positive steps. Left unchecked, it can cloud our judgment and hinder our ability to provide the support our children need.

Channeling Anger into Advocacy

1. Educate...

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Meaningful Bonds for Lasting Influence

 

Struggling to communicate with your children?

Learn ways to support them even when words fail.