“Anxiety is one of those diagnoses that is a great masquerader,” explains Dr. Laura Prager, director of the Child Psychiatry Emergency Service at Massachusetts General Hospital in an article featured for The Child Mind Institute. “It can look like a lot of things.” Indeed, anxious children react to their environment in a variety of ways, some of which parents may find surprising. Often, a child diagnosed with an anxiety disorder will behave like an angry, sad or disruptive child. In fact, the Child Mind Institute shares that “anxiety manifests differently in part because it is based on a physiological response to a threat in the environment, a response that maximizes the body’s ability to either face danger or escape danger.”
For decades, the American psyche was bombarded with the idea of a picture-perfect being a hard-working, successful father, a stay-at-home mother, and two or more happy, healthy, well-adjusted children. Our media spoon-fed us those images through television in particular. While the concept of who makes up a family has evolved, the idea of perfection is still deeply embedded.
I’m betting you have experienced burnout at least once in your adult life.That feeling of exhaustion, the utter lack of motivation, and the burning desire to just quit happens to the best of us - adults and children alike.
The holiday season is one of the most wonderful times of the year…and for children with anxiety and their families, the most stressful. Amid the swirls of lights, color, sounds, laughter, parties, gifts and special events, the comfort of routines can get lost and the increased stimulus can put everyone on edge. Below are five ways, shared on the blog The Chaos and the Clutter, to help your child cope with the anxieties the holidays can bring, so you all can focus on the joy of the season:
As engaged, loving parents, we all want to support our children and cheer for their successes. Unfortunately, in our super competitive world, cheering for your child can easily veer into movie villain territory. Slate Advice columnist Mallory Ortberg – aka “Dear Prudence” -- has a response she often gives her letterwriters. She asks, “Did what you said sound like something the villain in a Reese Witherspoon movie would say?” If yes, she says, you may want to re-examine your words and actions.
The internet’s positive response to a Michigan-based web developer’s email to her team letting them know she was taking two days off to tend to her mental health was refreshing, surprising and sad. Refreshing because of the woman’s honesty and her CEO’s support, surprising because it went viral so quickly, and sad because the response reflected just how infrequent open and supportive conversation about mental health occurs.