At times Groves will feature guest posts, such as this, from guest writers.
Today, we bring you a post from an "Anonymous Mom".
Parenting a child with anxiety can be a difficult, confusing, isolating experience.
All children experience moments of worry, stress and anxiety. We expect that. And in those moments, we expect that, as their parents we should handle it. We should swoop in (with our SuperParent capes fluttering behind us) and, with a hug and a few well-chosen words, pluck our child from their downward spiral, and place them securely back on track. No big deal. No major derailments. Just all in a day’s work.
Yep, I know a ton of parents who do that every day.
Then there’s us…
For those of us whose children have a diagnosed (or suspected) anxiety disorder, it rarely works like that. Our child isn’t easily soothed and redirected the way other kids are. For them, it is a big deal. It is a major derailment. And, as hard as we try to stop it, it is sometimes so powerful that it interferes with school, relationships, even the capacity to enjoy ordinarily fun activities.
As if all of that’s not hard enough, we often end up feeling judged by… well, everybody. Embedded in the endless stream of “helpful” disciplinary suggestions, impatient looks, and steadily declining birthday party invitations, there is that unspoken question: why does your kid “get like that” and why won’t you fix it?
Good question. Why can’t I fix this?
“Most people know what normal anxiety or stress feels like,” says Dr. Ethan Schwehr, Groves Academy licensed psychologist. “But an anxiety disorder presents additional challenges.” Tackling those challenges can be tricky. For some kids, prescription medication might be part of the solution. But with or without medication, the fact is, coping with a child’s anxiety disorder is different than dealing with the worries that come with “normal” anxiety. It calls for some neurological insight, a broad set of coping strategies and, I would argue, a little bonding time with other parents facing this same struggle.
So, here’s some good news: the next session in the Groves Academy Community Education Workshop Series delivers all of that. And after speaking with Dr. Schwehr, who facilitates the session, I’m going. If your child is struggling with a diagnosed or suspected anxiety disorder, I hope you will, too.
Managing Stress and Anxiety is a multi-modal, interactive workshop for parents and educators of children struggling with anxiety. Over the course of 90 minutes, we’ll learn about the neuropsychology of anxiety, how different diagnoses affect our children, impact the brain and manifest themselves in the body. Using that information as a foundation, Dr. Schwehr will then walk us through a variety of concepts and strategies we can try at home. From the importance of consistency, to the restorative powers of sleep, mindfulness and meditation, the focus is on providing every participant with deeper insights, new approaches and practical, hands-on exercises to boost our skills and our confidence. Throughout the session, participants are encouraged to ask Dr. Schwehr about their own, unique circumstances.
Yes, parenting a child with anxiety disorder can be difficult, confusing and isolating. But with information, practical advice and the support that comes from shared experience, I know this can only get better.
If you’d like to participate, please sign up here.
Hope to see you on October 24th.