Many parents worry about their children: Are they developing appropriately? Are there things I should be looking out for? For many, the daily challenges their children face are part of normal development; however, for some, concerns may reflect the need for more focused attention, with the need to consult with a mental health professional a possibility (please see previous post about knowing when it may be time to seek help).
You may recognize the scene: You are in public and your son or daughter decides that this is the time they want a specific thing or perhaps they want to stay/leave where you are. Parents usually start to reason with the child, perhaps through pursed lips, all the while trying to keep cool as they feel red creeping up their cheeks.
Think about something that stresses you out. Perhaps it is going to a social event, having to do a presentation at work, or even the simple act of leaving the house. Think about the amount of time you spend thinking about what may happen when you are faced with this stressor. What if it all goes wrong? What if someone sees you go through this and fail?
Now imagine that you are a child and that stressor is school. For many children, the start of school can represent the prospect of prolonged, continuous exposure to stress.
This week, there has been a lot of news regarding a new study that came out in the UK examining the impact of social media on the mental health of children and teens. The study, entitled #StatusOfMind, found that Instagram and Snapchat were the two platforms with the most negative influence on youth.
Parents will often ask when a problem has reached a point where they need professional involvement. The first thing they should be asking themselves is whether the problem is causing significant interference in their lives (be that the parents themselves or the children). Questions parents want to ask include:
As a psychologist that works both in the education system and in private practice, I have the opportunity to speak to many parents on a regular basis. Often these conversations are in relation to typical issues and concerns parents face; however, other times, the concerns expressed reveal issues that are of greater severity. Parents will often wonder whether it is time for them to seek professional help. Sometimes, there are many different things that can be done prior to getting to this point.
Sometimes we have questions regarding behaviours our children and adolescents display. Luckily there are resources available that can provide some guidelines. The following is a good resource for parents and teachers.
Another great website to help children and their families with anxiety (it provides a variety of free resources) is:
One good thing to remember is to give yourself permission to take a break! The following link provides some helpful tips to achieve this: