It's normal for children to experience anxieties at different stages of their development. But sometimes anxiety persists longer than normal, or becomes so extreme that it interferes with a child's normal activities. Some of this anxiety is biological, and some is learned… but even where there is a genetic predisposition to anxiety, there is a lot that parents and teachers can do to help.
In this video Dr Arlene Young of Simon Fraser University gives an excellent presentation on child anxiety. It's rather long, but well worth the time if you have a child who suffers from anxiety.
Dr Arlene Young mentions CBT - or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - as a proven therapy for anxiety.
If you are looking for a home program for child anxiety based on CBT - and presented in a wonderful fun and child-friendly manner - then have a look at the Turnaround Program:
"I cannot tell you how incredibly, wonderfully excitedly pleased I am with Turnaround. It has been a miracle and that is not an over-exaggeration!"
My daughter is 8, and has a high level of anxiety and worry (almost OCD manifestations). For example, if we went to a theme park and she had to ride a ride without me, but with another adult, she would ask up to 10 to 15 times where I was going to be exactly when she exited the ride to pick her up. Then, in the line, she would reiterate over and over to the companion what we had talked about. If there was any suspicion on her part on a car trip that we had lost our direction, she would sob and feel as if we were never going to be safe or find our way again.
At home, she would spend most days playing and then running out in a panic to see if I was still in the house, worried that I had gone outside or “left her”. A simple act such as my taking the trash outside would cause her to panic and scream out, “Mom! Mom!” like a child lost at a park. Things such as earrings not being put immediately back in after swimming would cause her to worry that her ears were going to close and she would feel pain upon getting them back in-so much so that she would choose not to participate. Of course, the usual things – couldn’t sleep alone, throwing up at doctors appointments. All from worry.
It is hard to see your child stress so much at such a young age. For my daughter and my family, this would mean all kinds of accommodations to try and eliminate the fear but that made things worse! I am a divorced parent, and her father would not agree to professional counseling. When I found Turnaround I was relieved, something I could try at home.
I cannot tell you how incredibly, wonderfully excitedly pleased I am with Turnaround. It has been a miracle and that is not an over-exaggeration! My daughter did the first several episodes with me listening too and when each of the kids told their story she could identify strongly with 2 of them. She has big social fears too, about other people talking about her and not liking her. Just hearing the kids and then giving her time to think about and journal her thoughts were so helpful. When we talk together about the talk-backs to fear it helps her realize its all in her head.
So, we did the program and I saw a huge improvement in the amount of worrying just on a general day to day basis. She could go off and play and not worry. The big eye opener, though, about CD 6 was when we went to Miami. We took a detour to see Monkey Jungle and my Tom Tom took me down a back road. Frustrated, I let it slip that it wasn’t taking me to the right spot, a usual big no no with my daughter in the car. We did find it, around the corner and when we got there and were getting out of the car my daughter asked me if I noticed how well she did, no crying or getting upset. You know what? She handled it so well I forgot she usually freaked out!! When I told her yes, wow! She told me “I just kept telling myself it was Krank and that all I needed to tell him was to chill dude”. We didn’t even have to get through the whole program and it was having an impact.
So, we are about 3 or 4 month after the program and I see some anxiety coming back around. The nice thing is, she does too! What a blessing to get her well enough feeling so that she knows when she is feeling bad! She tells me, “I need to do Turnaround tonight,” and we start listening to the CD’s again. It helps her regain her perspective and reminds her what to do about her feelings. I couldn’t be more pleased.
Allison M, Florida
My son is doing GREAT! He has had very little struggle with anxiety over the past 4 months or so. I want to thank you once again for this excellent program. He has come so far, it’s amazing.
It’s wonderful, as a parent, to see my child getting back to his old self again, although I don’t think he will ever truly be his “old self”. He has learned so much, and has gained so many skills to deal with anxiety and life in general that he is now a “new and improved self”. The beauty of this program is that it is always available for review when necessary.
Thank you for identifying anxiety for what it is—thoughts. This has greatly helped my son. He has realized that he can control his thoughts and that a ‘what if’ scenario is merely that; a ‘what if’. It also has helped him to recognize when his stomach issues (rolling stomach and vomiting) are due to anxiety and how to control it. He takes control often by telling me that his stomach hurts due to whatever the issue is that concerns him. He is only 8 and can be riled easily at times, but at least now is able to recognize the anxiety thought patterns and address them through the chill exercises and simply ‘talking wacky back’ or just changing his thoughts.
The portion of the program which addresses thankfulness is wonderful as well and whenever he starts to exhibit some anxiety behaviors we list 3 things we are thankful for as a family. Sometimes rolling eyes happen, but he does gain perspective. As a parent of a child who exhibits these patterns, it has helped me as well to identify these patterns in my own thought life and allowed me to ‘chill’ as well.
We appreciate the program and say thank you!
Tera, Texas, USA
"Turnaround has been amazing!"
"The program is the best money I have ever spent and I cannot recommend it highly enough to others with anxious children. Thank you so much."
-Stephanie, Great Britain.
"It was honestly a life saving program for my daughter and my family."
"I'm very thankful to have found the Turnaround program for my 8-year-old daughter. She was having severe panic attacks and since doing the program, has not had one. She enjoyed the process and I was impressed with the way the program was written and with the characters… I highly recommend it."
"We had great success with the Turnaround program."
"Our six year old was having a terrible time with starting kindergarten. We were prompted by his teacher to seek professional help. We first went to the Psychology Department for appointments as we, the parents, both work at a well known clinic. We found the appointments to be unhelpful and “over his head”. They seemed to focus on us, the parents, and were not on the level of our child at all. My Husband found the CDs online and we ordered them. Our son loved them and could really relate to the characters and messages. He still asks to listen to them and he is entirely over his fear of school."
"Thanks for creating Turnaround. We think the programme is BRILLIANT!!"
-Sarah from Australia.
"We recently started Turnaround with my 5-year-old daughter. She is a bit young for the program, so we have had to adapt it a little bit, but she is a different child than she was a month ago!"
-Cindy C., South Carolina.