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parenting: how to HELP YOUR KIDS keep ANXIETY AT BAY {part 1}

Nikki Yazxhi January 22, 2016
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keep kids anxiety at bay

IT’S BEEN ESTIMATED THAT 1 IN 7 SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN HAS ANXIETY AND/OR DEPRESSION BUT ONLY 1 IN 4
GETS THE HELP THEY NEED.

We asked Lynn Jenkins, clinical psychologist, mother and author of ‘Lessons of a LAC’ – how we can help our kids deal with these issues…


Here’s Lynn’s first bellaMUMMA exclusive post:
There’s no doubt that childhood anxiety seems to be more prevalent in our world today. It is the most common type of mental health disorders in children.
Something like starting ‘big’ school can be a huge deal for kids. There is a whole new environment and routine to learn about and exist in and everything is bigger and louder. This can create anxiety for children.
Whilst all children experience some type of anxiety, it is normal and expected. Anxiety becomes a problem that needs intervention when it becomes persistent, and disruptive to a child’s routine.
Anxiety – generally speaking – can feel like you’re under the control of a merciless creature whose modus operandi is to constantly bring your attention to ‘what dreadful thing might happen’ in everything you do. It constantly encourages you to create something negative and catastrophic from not much at all and it is extremely demanding of your time — in fact, it wants you to pay constant attention to it.
This Little Anxiety Creature {which I will start to call ‘LAC’} can set up home in people of any age, including our precious young children.
It causes them to avoid places and not do things; and it makes them feel worried, scared and physically sick. This happens because LAC chatters in their ears and causes them to worry about anything and everything, sometimes creating scenarios that, to kids, are worrisome. For example, they might fall down the toilet if they flush it or the animals might escape their cages if they visit the zoo or something bad might happen if they don’t step on every crack in the pavement.
When LAC moves in, kids’ bodies get bossed around a bit. Among other things, LAC makes the heart go faster, hands and feet to get tingly, breathing to get quicker and shallower and the tummy to feel sick.
In addition to these physical manifestations of anxiety, kids’ behaviour can change and they may become distracted, unsettled or sullen and even stubborn. They may behave in a very different way and seem out of sorts.
Sometimes we might have an inkling that our kids are a bit prone to worrying or feeling anxious. If this is the case, we need to stay open to the possibility that worrying or feeling anxious might
be behind how they are behaving.
It might only be through staying calm, observing and perhaps having a talk with them at an appropriate time that their worries might be revealed.
There are various strategies and techniques to help coach kids through their anxiety. But if you feel unsure how to help your child deal with their anxious feelings, I recommend you seek assistance from a GP, therapist or counsellor. Getting an assessment to understand the specific nature of your child’s anxiety is a great step in the right direction.
Early identification and the right approach and treatment if necessary will help children reach their full potential.
{Stay tuned for part 2 & 3}
ABOUT LYNN: Lynn Jenkins is an experienced clinical psychologist, author and mother. Following her books Best Start and School Start, clinical psychologist Lynn Jenkins has launched her latest book, a children’s title illustrated by Kirrili Lonergan.
About the book, Lessons of a LAC: Loppy the LAC, part of a clan of little anxious creatures, and Curly the Calmster help children realise that just because dangerous things might happen, doesn’t mean they will.  Lessons of a LAC helps kids understand their anxiety or “worry feelings” and learn that there is an alternative to worrying all the time. For more info, visit: facebook.com/BestStartsLynnJenkins
Lessons of a LAC is RRP $14.95 and available from www.roomtoconnect.com.au
{Pic: Zara}

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