Helping an anxious child

Psychologist & Author David Palmiter, PhD, shares advice for parents on the best way to help your anxious child be calm and overcome their anxious temperament
Helping Your Anxious Child - Kids In The House
KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

Helping an anxious child

Comment
123
Like
123
Transcription: 
Many parents have a child that seems to be too fearful or anxious or worried and they wonder what to do. First of all, I'd say you're in a big club. This is the number 1 problem the kids suffering, an anxious temperament. It isn't necessarily same thing as an anxiety disorder, it's just an anxious temperament. There's a couple of things, first we want to avoid excessive reassurances. Let's say I walk in the studio today and you guys told me this is a great studio, state of the art and by the way don't worry about the roof collapsing on you, it's fine. Well, I'm going to start looking up at the roof and wondering why are they reassuring me. A reassurance says there's something to be reassured about. It's like danger, danger watch out, freak out now. So I don't want excessive reassurances. I also want to avoid avoidance. This thing, anxiety makes someone want to avoid thing that's the main symptom expression. So I asked, this thing my kids afraid of is it developmentally appropriate? If it is developmentally appropriate, going on a school bus, joining a new soccer team, raising their hand in class. Then I want to kindly and warmly insist upon that exposure. Once they're exposed, their anxietiy is going to go away. It does naturally over time. I also can teach my kid relaxing, belly breathings. Pretend that your lung is in your belly instead of your chest, we call diaphragmatic breathing, very powerful tool. Turn your muscles into a cooked piece of pasta instead of a non-cook piece of pasta. The softer more relax muscles are the more anxieties flush from my body. I can also - that thing my kid might be afraid of - I can also set a step-wise exposure to it. Maybe take a trip to the preschool a week before the preschool starts. Meet the preschool teacher would be an example. Instead of just jumping into the lake putting a leg in then the hip then stomach and so forth. But avoiding and avoidance is key. If I find those strategies don't work, I want to seek a mental health professional this is a highly treatable problem. It's one of my favorite things to treat because kids are often in high distress and they're much better a few weeks later and everybody is through about it.

Psychologist & Author David Palmiter, PhD, shares advice for parents on the best way to help your anxious child be calm and overcome their anxious temperament

Transcript

Expert Bio

More from Expert

David Palmiter, PhD, ABPP

Psychologist & Author

Dr. David Palmiter is a professor of Psychology and Counseling at Marywood University, the President of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association (2012-2013), a practicing and board-certified clinical psychologist with over 20 years experience, a Public Education Coordinator for the American Psychological Association, author of an award winning parenting book (times three), dad (of 3.0 children; 3.5 if you count the neurotic dog) and husband (of over 22 years to Dr. Lia Richards-Palmiter, who says she has 4.0 children as she counts David). Dr. Palmiter has over three dozen professional publications to his credit, has given over 200 continuing education workshops around the country and has completed over 300 public education projects, including for outlets such as the LA Times, US News and World Report, USA Today, Wall St. Journal and O Magazine. A central aspect of his professional mission is to put air under the wings of parents as they try to raise happy and self-actualized children. 

More Parenting Videos from David Palmiter, PhD, ABPP >
Enter your email to
download & subscribe
to our newsletter