This site is for parents of a troubled child, teenager, or young adult, with practical advice on how you can manage at home.
Margaret Puckette, CPSP
Contact me if you are interested in contributing an article.
This site is for parents of a troubled child, teenager, or young adult, with practical advice on how you can manage at home.
Margaret Puckette, CPSP
Contact me if you are interested in contributing an article.
So how are you doing in this parenting job you have? Score your skills on a parenting test which was designed for parents of children ages 11-15 with serious behavior problems. (If you are brave, have someone else score you too and compare notes.)
|Always: 5 Generally: 4 Sometimes: 3 Rarely: 2 Never: 1||Your
|1. My child’s other parent (or caregiver) and I agree on how to discipline our child.||
|2. My child can depend on me to do what I say I will.||
|3. When I say “no”, I stick to it.||
|4. I treat my child with respect, even when I’m angry.||
|5. I let natural consequences do the teaching whenever feasible.||
|6. I am confident my child has everything she/he needs to make
|7. I allow my child to do his/her chores without my reminding.||
|8. I allow my child to voice her/his opinions when done in a
|9. I am able to stay out of arguments by disengaging before they
|10: When I make a mistake in judgment, I’m quick to admit it.||
45 – 50 Good job! You are on the right track.
30 – 45 Not bad, just a little more work in those challenging areas.
Less than 30 Keep trying! Find a support group; a therapist for you and a co-parent; or books (recommendation).
Don’t be hard on yourself if you score low.
Teenagers are difficult.
You might be thinking: “I agree these are good parenting skills, but practicing them is impossible with my child. They hate/defy/scream at me constantly.” Advice: Work on one at a time, and check back in few weeks to see if you’ve improved your score.
This test is drawn from a parenting guide created in 2007 by StandUp Parenting (www.standup.org)
to help parents understand what is needed to maintain authority and model maturity.
Please add a comment if you have found other skills to be effective,
How am I doing? Please rate this article above.
How Schizoaffective Disorder compares to other disorders
There is little information about schizoaffective disorder in children, which usually starts around puberty. As a parent, you know how seriously it affects your child, but how does it compare to depression and bipolar (manic and depressive states) and schizophrenia? What is the course of schizoaffective disorder, and how can you help your child’s future?
Schizoaffective disorder is not as serious as schizophrenia,
but more serious than bipolar/depression.
Research conducted in Britain* studied young people who received typical treatment for schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar/depression who were between the ages of 17 and 30 (average age was 22). Over a 10 year period, those with schizoaffective disorder improved slightly, better than those with schizophrenia.
Behavioral functioning over time for schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia and affective disorders (depression, bipolar) at four consecutive follow-ups. (This scale goes from 2 (good) to 6 (poor). A “1” would be the level of a person with no symptoms and who is considered normal.)
*M. Harrow, L. Grossman, Herbener, E. Davies; The British Journal of Psychiatry; Nov 2000, 177 (5) 421-426
Behavioral functioning is measured by how well a person does in five areas:
Your child will struggle with these, but there’s good news according to a recent landmark study:
Family support improves a patient’s outcome.
A new treatment program was developed that altered some well-established practices. A set of schizophrenia patients received the following support and were later compared with those who had the usual medication approach.
Patients who went through this for of treatment made greater strides in recovery over the first two years of treatment than patients who got the usual drug-focused care. More here.”
New Approach Advised to Treat Schizophrenia, Benedict Carey, New York Times, Oct. 20, 2015
“..if you look at the people who did the best—those we caught earliest after their first break with reality—their improvement by the end was easily noticeable by friends and family.”
The longer psychotic symptoms stay in an extreme phase,” in which patients become afraid and deeply suspicious,” the more likely the person will be vulnerable to recurring psychosis, and the more difficulty they will have coming out of it and adjusting to normal life.
How to help your child
Be very realistic about what your child can handle in school. They may be extremely intelligent–but maybe can’t handle too much homework; or class disruptions; or lack of empathy from the teacher. A parent or school counselor should help your child find low-stress classes or activities, and consider limiting the number of classes per day. They can only hold it together for so long! I found it helped my schizoaffective child to take later classes, starting at 10 or 11 am.
Get the whole family on board to make his or her life easier. Your child might be stressful and a source of irritation for everyone, but family members can help reduce this by taking on the chores your troubled child would ordinarily do; avoid pressuring them about something, or anything; and allow your child to say oddball things without confronting them about how irrational they are or arguing with them.
DIY talk therapy – Here are some ways to guide your child out of their troubled states.
Run-on obsessive thoughts
Help your child stand up to thought/voice bullies the same as
as you would help any child dealing with a bully. This works.
Take care and have hope. You can do this.
Please rate this article and let me know how I’m doing.
This article contributed by Benjamin Dancer.
I’m a high school counselor, which means I work with parents every day. Because I’ve made a career out of my work with adolescents, I see what a parent might be seeing for the first time. This includes a long list of unfortunate life events.
Back when we were teenagers, there wasn’t a massive network of servers positioned strategically across the globe to capture and record, forever, the embarrassment of our adolescent choices.
As a parent, I have a lot of empathy for other parents. It’s not easy, especially when you’re going through something for the first time. My life, on the other hand, is a little bit like Groundhog Day. In a sense, I’ve never left high school. Every school year I see the same things. Different kids, but the same behavior: alcohol, drugs, tobacco, bullying, kids running away from home, pregnancy and something new: sexting.
Take an adolescent boy with an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex, which by definition means he is incapable of fully contemplating notions such as consequence; take this teenager raging with sex hormones and give him a tiny device that he will carry with him everywhere, a device capable of sending messages instantly to anybody, anywhere in the world, and install a camera in that device. What do you imagine might go wrong?
When you and I were adolescents, we were no less reckless, no less idiotic with our choices, no less eager to use our bodies as grownups. The difference is that our stupidity has been forgotten by history. Back when we were teenagers, there wasn’t a massive network of servers positioned strategically across the globe to capture and record, forever, the embarrassment of our adolescent choices. Sexting changes everything.
Over the last seventeen years in my work of mentoring adolescents and partnering with their parents, I’ve seen a lot of parenting styles. I’ve learned some important strategies in dealing with the situations teenagers present–strategies the average parent doesn’t have the time, through repetition, to learn. I feel confident telling you that there are some really good ideas out there. And some really bad ones, too.
Because I’m a writer, it occurred to me to write it down, what I’ve learned over the years. I’m a parent. I know it just as well as you do. We need a little grace in our lives.
The police called the sexting child pornography. So I understood Nicole’s concern: she wanted to talk to me about her daughter. Jessica was fourteen and three years younger than her boyfriend. He had been distributing images of Jessica through his phone. Nicole was worried; she was scared, and understandably so.
Jessica still thought she was in love.
“He calls her a bitch,” Nicole told me. “I read the texts. He says horrible things to her.”
“And she still wants to be with him,” I said.
The pain I felt for her was communicated in my voice. As a teacher, I see the scenario every year, but Nicole was experiencing this for the first time. Jessica was her daughter. Not long ago she was her baby. I could only begin to imagine the suffering the situation provoked. Nicole was in no position to hear how common this was.
Why do girls throw themselves at boys who treat them badly?
In Jessica’s circumstance there was a tremendous amount of grief. She had barely processed the loss of her dad. He was killed in an accident over the summer.
“I can’t stop her from being with him. I’ve tried. I took away her phone. I grounded her. She sneaks out of the house. I drop her off at school, and she ditches to be with him.” The mascara was now running beneath Nicole’s cheekbones, “Last night, she told me that she wished it was me who was dead. He was waiting for her out front. I saw her get into his car.”
“I can’t imagine what that’s like,” I told her. “I’m sorry.”
“Unless I physically restrain her, she will find a way to get back to him.”
I allowed for a long silence, as I thought there might be more Nicole needed to say.
“What did I do? What did I do wrong?”
I didn’t answer her question. And I didn’t dismiss it. I sat with her in it.
* * * * *
My role with Nicole is not all that different from my role with Jessica. It doesn’t matter whether you’re fourteen or forty, what you need is for someone to listen. What you need is for someone to understand.
Jessica and I talked later the same day.
“She went through my phone,” Jessica was angry. “She read my texts.”
I let her know that I understood her frustration.
“She won’t let me leave the house.”
“She’s trying to keep me from him.”
“Have you told her that you love him?”
“She hates him. She doesn’t want me to see him.”
“Why does she hate him?”
At this Jessica paused. We had already talked about the pictures. She had told me stories about the boy. The way he had flaunted his sexual conquests. He was in my English class, and I had seen it firsthand: there were countless other girls.
After a long silence, she answered my question, “She thinks he’s not good for me. Is he?”
It was ground we had already covered. In past conversations Jessica told me that she respects her mom for trying to protect her. I handed Jessica a box of tissues. She wiped the tears and told me, “No. He’s really, really mean.”
I listened to her cry for several minutes. I was thinking about her father. I knew the man well. I liked him. I was thinking about her mother. I was thinking about my own daughter. It was true for all of us. What we need is empathy.
“I’m sorry,” I told her. She questioned me with her eyes.
So I answered it, “I’m sorry you’re so alone.”
Jessica’s whole body shook when she sobbed.
* * * * *
The last time Nicole was in my office she asked me if she should return Jessica’s phone. We had a similar conversation the day she asked me if she should call the police.
“What do you think?”
“I think Jessica needs to figure this out for herself. I’ve tried to protect her, but I can’t. I just can’t protect her from everything.”
“Does that mean you’ll give it back?”
“No. She’s not ready for that.”
“I don’t know the answers to the particulars,” I told Nicole, “but I know this. You’re a good mom. Jessica needs you right now. She needs you to be confident in your role.”
I saw the tears washing through the mascara, gave Nicole the box of tissues, and kept on going.
This is universal: the teenager wants desperately to have her independence, and she is terrified of it.
“Jessica loves you, and she knows that you love her. Jessica is not aware of the fact that she is conflicted about this. She’s just a kid. As much as she pushes you away, she wants you to be strong, to love her.”
* * * * *
I talked to Jessica again a week later.
“Do you still see him?” I asked.
She was embarrassed, “Yeah.”
“Is he good to you?”
“How about last night?”
She hesitated then said, “Last night he left me in a parking lot. I had to borrow a phone and call my mom to come pick me up.”
“Why’d he leave you?”
“To hook up with someone else.”
“Will you see him again?”
“I have a vision for you,” I said.
Jessica smiled, like she had heard lines like that from me before.
But that didn’t deter me. I have an advantage over most parents of teenagers: I’ve made a career out of the adolescent. Their behavior can be alarming, infuriating and even demoralizing, but after seventeen years of guiding teenagers as they come of age, I have established proven routines.
I have a pretty good idea of how many repetitions it will take, of how many times I’ll have to say it before Jessica can even make sense of the words, of how many more times I’ll have to repeat it before she begins to adopt the language as her own.
So I told her again, “In my vision of your future, you will love yourself too much to let a boy treat you badly.”
* * * * *
The story above is a composite of a dozen mothers and a dozen daughters I’ve work with over the years. In my FREE e-book, I analyze that narrative–elucidating what I believe to be the important parenting considerations.
About Benjamin Dancer:
Benjamin is a high school counselor at Jefferson County Open School where he has made a career out of mentoring young people as they come of age. He wrote the novels PATRIARCH RUN, IN SIGHT OF THE SUN and FIDELITY. He also writes about parenting and education. You can learn more at:
Like this post or have a comment? Please give it a rating (above) and share your thoughts. Your comments are helpful for other parents who read Benjamin’s article. Thank you.
Life with a child with ADD or ADHD can be trying and overwhelming. However, as a parent there are practical measures you can take to effectively control and minimize your child’s symptoms without controlling and monitoring their every move.
You help your child overcome daily challenges by redirecting his or her energy into positive activities. You start by having a dialogue with your child and family that honestly communicates the situation in a way that does not accuse them of being “bad”. Their behavior needs improvement, but speak as if it’s a ‘normal’ problem that must be addressed.
Children with ADD or ADHD typically have shortcomings in executive function: the ability to think and plan ahead, organize, control impulses, and complete tasks. This means that you need to take over as the executive, providing extra direction while your child progressively obtains executive skills of his or her own. With tolerance, kindness, and plenty of family teamwork, you can help your child manage childhood ADD or ADHD and maintain a steady, happy home
You must to be able to master a combination of support and predictability.
Living in a home that provides love and lots of structure is the best thing for a child or teenager who is learning to manage ADD/ADHD. There are effective and simple changes you can make that are easy to implement; we offer four practical tips to help you understand and support your child with ADD or ADHD:
1. Be honest with your child about ADD or ADHD
It is important not to avoid or ignore your child’s condition. ADD or ADHD is not your child’s fault, it is a brain disorder that causes young people to have trouble focusing, completing tasks, or planning the future. Most parents can reframe things, but don’t look at the negative. Your child should understand it is something they can and should manage. The rest of your family should do this too.
2. Stay Positive
When calm and focused, you are more likely to get your child’s attention and help him or her to be peaceful and attentive. And keep things in perspective. Your child’s behavior is related to a disorder, so most of the time it is not deliberate. Don’t sweat the small stuff; be willing to negotiate certain matters. For example, if one chore is left undone but your child has already completed two chores and their homework for the day, let it go and appreciate what they were able to complete. Staying positive also means believing and trusting your child. Trust that your child will learn, change, mature, and succeed. Trust that your child wants to!
Taking care of yourself will allow you to take better care of your child.
It is vital to live a full, healthy life because you are the child’s role model and source of strength. Eat right, exercise, and find ways to reduce stress. Getting involved with organizations related to ADD or ADHD will also provide you with safe places to vent your frustrations and share experiences.
3. Establish structure, enforce rules and consequences calmly
Help your child with ADD or ADHD to stay attentive and prepared by setting a strict routine. Set a time and place for everything to help your child with ADD or ADHD comprehend and meet expectations. Allow extra time for what your child needs to do, such as homework, chores, and getting ready in the morning. Keep them busy but not too busy—a child with ADD or ADHD will become more distracted and act up if there are too many after-school activities going on.
Create structure in your home so your child knows what to expect and when.
Children with ADHD are more likely to succeed if they can complete tasks when the tasks occur in probable patterns and in foreseeable places. Children with ADHD need rules because it helps them track time and progress. Make the behavior rules simple and clear. Write down the rules and hang them up in a place where your child can read them. Children with ADD or ADHD respond exceptionally well to prearranged systems of rewards and consequences. It’s important to explain what will happen when the rules are obeyed and when they are broken. Finally, stick to your system by following through each and every time with a reward or a consequence.
4. Encourage movement and sleep
Children with ADD or ADHD often have a lot of energy to burn. Organized sports and other physical activities can help them get their energy out in healthy ways, and refine their focus while enjoying the development of new skills and abilities. Exercise leads to better sleep with children with ADD or ADHD, which also reduces symptoms of ADD or ADHD. Children with ADD or ADHD often find “white noise” to be calming when sleeping. You can create white noise by putting a radio on static or running an electric fan, for example.
Guest Post by: Diamond Ranch Academy
Diamond Ranch Academy is one of the premier youth residential treatment centers for struggling teens. Since 1999, the highly trained staff at this facility has provided guidance and support for teens with varying emotional and behavioral issues including; substance abuse, depression, ADHD, impulse control, peer pressure, anger management, oppositional defiance, self-esteem, grief/loss issues, family relationships, communication, and academic struggles.
Note from blog owner, I am not personally familiar with Diamond Ranch Academy and this post is not an endorsement, but this post offers good information for any parent of a child with ADD or ADHD. For ideas on what to look for in a good residential program, see the post Residential treatment checklist
Have you been searching for psychiatric residential treatment for your child? Do all the programs sound wonderful? Ads include quotes from happy parents, and lovely photos and fabulous-sounding activities. But what’s behind the ads? Residential treatment programs are diverse, but there are important elements they should all have. Here’s how to avoid low quality residential treatment.
Psychiatric residential treatment is serious stuff–it’s difficult to do–especially when troubled children and teens are put together in one facility.
Should you ask other parents for their opinion of a program? In my experience with a child in psychiatric residential care, and as a former employee of one, word-of-mouth is not the best way to assess quality or success rate. There are too many variables: children’s disorders are different; acuity is different; parents’ attitudes and expectations are different; length of time in the facility is different; what happens once a child returns home is different… It’s most helpful to ask questions of intake staff and doctors or psychologists on staff. Quality psychiatric residential care facilities have important things in common.
What to ask about the staff:
What to ask about programs:
Body health is mind health, and vice versa.
Is your child emotionally safe as well as physically safe?
What to ask about the business itself:
Psychiatric residential treatment works miracles, but it doesn’t work for all children. Some need to go into treatment more than once to benefit. Some fall apart a few weeks or months after discharge. These are common. What’s important is that you and your child are taught skills for managing his or her unique symptoms, communicating well, and committing to staying well together.
How am I doing? Please comment and rate this post.
Most young people aren’t ready for adulthood by 18 years of age, but your troubled teen is especially unprepared. By 18, their legal status instantly changes to “adult” and they are free to fail at life’s countless tests. Your hands are tied and you can’t keep your son or daughter safe from themselves any more.
Pace yourself for a marathon
Your job as parent is far from over. Not surprisingly, parenting an 18+ year old will feel the same as when they were 17 years 11 months old. They’ve been behind their peers for a long time–emotionally or socially or academically. You’ve done everything possible to get them ready for adulthood, but they simply aren’t! For troubled teens, the teen years last into the mid-20’s or longer. And this is really scary; suicide rates across all age groups are highest for people aged 16-24. It’s the period of greatest stress, whether the person is suicidal or not.
Many people with disorders aren’t able to take full responsibility for themselves until their early 30’s.
Over the past 16 years, I’ve asked this question of people with mental health disorders, their parents and siblings and children, and their friends: “At what age did (you, your loved one) make the conscious choice to take responsibility for themselves: treatment, income or job, living on their own, choosing to associate with healthy people. I asked dozens and dozens of people. Their answer? Every single one told me they or their loved one didn’t turn things around until they were between the ages of 29 – 34.
True story: a co-worker once shared about his bipolar disorder and his years of substance abuse and hardships. I would never had guessed this grounded stable person had a troubled past. I asked when he turned his life around; it was 30. I asked what motivated him. His answer? “I couldn’t avoid it anymore. I ran out of excuses. I hit rock bottom too many times.”
The questions to ponder are how much to sacrifice and how much to let go. There needs to be a balance.
Parents have a tendency to rescue their adult son or daughter when a crisis befalls because it’s so hard for the child to recover from set-backs. But rescuing too much makes them more dependent on the parents (or adult siblings). Pressuring a troubled teen to be an “adult” when they are not ready may lead to their dependence on others who might make their lives worse. Or they’ll cope with drugs or alcohol, or risky choices, or give up.
I know of a couple in their 70’s who’d rescued their troubled 34-year-old daughter her entire life, and faced cutting her off because they couldn’t manage anymore. They were heartbroken to let her go, painfully afraid she would become homeless or suicidal, and deeply regretful they unwittingly undermined her capacity for independence. Don’t let this happen to you.
The first challenge is deciding where they’ll live.
As with any troubled teen, they must become independent eventually. It may be a tough call for you: bear the stress if they live with you? or worry when they leave your protection, possibly forever? Ironically, your adult child must be better than ‘normal’ young people at managing life because they have so much more to worry about. Besides the usual adult responsibilities, add self-monitoring for mental and emotional stability, taking meds or obtaining therapy, and disciplining themselves to stick with dozens of choices that support their well-being (diet, exercise, healthy friendships, education or work, financial stability…).
If your troubled teen of 18 must live at home full or part-time, change your rules and expectations. Rules can include a requirement for ongoing mental health care. Your troubled teen must transition to becoming your guest who stays at your invitation and a renter who contributes to the household and follows the landlord’s rules. You’ll need discipline to step back and respect their privacy and (reasonable) choices and activities. This may not be easy to achieve–you’ll make many compromises.
In the eyes of the law, you are not responsible for them anymore.
You really aren’t. In fact, you have the right to banish your 18-year-old from your home and change the locks on the doors. The parents who do this are usually in fear for their physical and emotional safety–not because they don’t care. If this describes you, it’s understandable and forgivable if you feel forced into this step. But know this, things change. Your adult child will change; banishment is not forever.
There’s good news. Adults have more options for support.
Ironically, your troubled teen, by 18, will have more access to services than ever, and you’ll both get the support you’ve desperately needed.
This is what your troubled teen needs to function after 18, listed in order of value:
Adjust your expectations for how quickly they’ll progress.
Parents with ‘normal’ 18 year olds gradually revise their relationship with them, becoming a mentor and peer rather than a parent. You can’t do that yet; your challenge is to flow between the role of parent, disciplinarian, social worker, and therapist until they are ready.
You can do this. Stay patient. Keep a bridge built. They’ll eventually grow up.
Please rate this post and comment. Your thoughts and experiences will help others who read this article.
For those with an autistic child, it is a parent’s nightmare to face a tantrum with no way to calm them down. That is why it is important to have a calming room or area set aside for your child that helps ease distress before a tantrum starts, or to send them to in order to ease the distress. Here are three versions of a calming room you can create to help when your child is about to have a tantrum.
The HUG room
The hug room is popular for calming any child down, especially one on the spectrum. The hug room needs to have calming items that provide a sense of security and warmth, and a cocoon-like hug. In this room, provide a weighted blanket or snug embracing vest (in case your child won’t lay down). Both of these are like bear hugs, which can be comforting and calming for children with autism. Another great item to have in this space is a crash pad (used by many therapists and parents in combination with a weighted blanket), or a large or stuffed animal or pillow that the child can hold on to or hug. You want to make sure the animal or pillow does not have parts that can be ripped off and chewed on or cause damage in another way. You’ll also want all other items to be soft and safe to throw to protect the room or others in case your child does have a full-blown tantrum.
The SOOTHING SOUNDS & SCENTS room
One thing that can work very well for some children, especially with tantrums brought on by overstimulation, is a room with soothing sensory experiences. In this room, block or mute outside sounds–TVs, stereos, and people walking or talking near the room so it’s as quiet as possible. Once your child is in the soothing sounds room, you’ll need to have a place for them to relax or lay down. You can use a bed, a crash mat, or something else they can fall asleep on or even just sit on with their eyes closed. Silence or a soft gentle background ‘hum’ or soothing sound helps, such as from meditation CDs, music or birds or flowing water.
You can also try products like the Twilight Turtle which has soothing sounds and even includes a light show of constellations (also perfect for the 3rd room, below). Noise blocking earmuffs and headphones make great additions for this room if your child needs to be removed from all noises. These also provide a kind if ‘hug.’ You can combine them with a scent or scented toy or stuffed animals to calm your child. Think about little pillows stuffed with lavender flowers, or an air freshener they like.
The VISUALLY CALMING room
The most important thing when creating a calming room is to make sure it meets the needs of your child. Include features that are most effective for him or her. Don’t forget to exclude or remove anything that is easily thrown or could hurt your child or others or cause damage to your house.
–This article was provided by Ryan Novas on behalf of National Autism Resources.
Addendum, some other things that calm children (and adults) who are easily overstimulated:
A bubbling aquarium, or a virtual aquarium on a computer monitor
An image of a fire or the rippling surface of water, available as a CD or on a monitor
A mobile or motion toy powered by a solar cell
A clock with a pendulum
Have you discovered something that works for your child? Please share.
We all get anxious, but it becomes a “disorder” when it prevents a person from normal functioning. Anxiety and panic are very real, whether triggered by life in general or certain things such as phobias. Take it serious–it’s not something an extremely anxious child can “get over”. Willpower alone does not work.
Anxiety disorders are also one of the most common psychiatric conditions in children and adolescents, but often go undetected and untreated. Early, effective treatment can reduce the negative impacts on academic and social functioning.
Excessive worry or anxiety about multiple issues, which lingers six months or more, can indicate an anxiety disorder.
Physical pain reduces psychological pain by shocking a person’s attention into the here-and-now. Like a glass of water thrown into someone’s face when they are upset, the shock overrides inner turmoil, and releases adrenalin and endorphins. It’s stimulating, even energizing. According to statistics from research, cutting becomes addictive after about 14 episodes.
True story: Laurel, age 14, cut herself regularly on her fingers, preferring to cut under her fingernails. She hid the cuts and scabs with nail polish. Her father eventually learned about this and asked her why: “I feel more calm because the sting feels good and distracts me.” A therapist recommended that Laurel draw “cuts” on herself with a red pen instead of a knife, and also wear a rubber band on her wrist or fingers and snap it when she wanted to feel a sting.
It is common for cutters to hide their scars or scabs under clothing if they think you will try to stop them, or they will cut in a place you won’t see unless they are unclothed. They may also make an excuse about an injury if you do see visible cuts. You can look for unexplained blood on clothing. Don’t be afraid to ask if they are cutting; many young people have freely ‘confessed’ when asked.
Treatment for anxiety
A child or teen will often be diagnosed with more than one type of anxiety disorder, in addition to a psychiatric disorder–30% of all anxiety cases include a diagnosis of depression and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in combination with antidepressant medications “have consistently shown efficacy for anxiety disorders in children and adolescents.” Many anti-anxiety medications on the market are addictive, so a doctor or psychiatrist will be very cautious about prescribing them except on an as-needed basis. Treatment must also include parent involvement, especially if the parents are also anxious. In the case of cutting, allow your child to cause themselves pain that is harmless, for example: hold tightly onto ice as long as they can, smell vinegar, taste hot pepper. These may sound strange, but they are effective techniques used in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to help an anxious person tolerate stress. You find out more about CBT and DBT here: Therapy types explained – DBT, CBT, CPS, and others
How you can help
* Charles H. Elliott, Ph.D. “Anxiety: Three Messages to Avoid Giving Kids”
If your child is in a situation where they are experiencing severe distress, always have an escape plan or an “out” so your child can leave the situation as quickly as possible. Prepare yourself ahead of time so you won’t feel inconvenienced when it happens, and accept this as part of their treatment needs.
Don’t forget to take care of YOU and your foundation
If you’ve found ways to reduce your child’s anxiety, share them in the Comments section for others to consider.
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