What’s normal behavior and when should a parent be concerned?
If you’re a parent, regardless of the age(s) of your children, there probably isn’t a day that goes by when you don’t question some element of your child’s behavior. It is what parents do. Even before the baby is born we ask questions of our own parents, our peers, our doctors…always seeking validation that what we are experiencing is normal.
This validation process continues as children approach pre-school, elementary school, middle school and will move right through high school and even the college years. There is something about being a parent that makes us question our abilities to see things clearly and to relate the behavior we are seeing in our children with that which we experienced as we matured from childhood to adulthood. And this does not even take into consideration how our world continues to evolve and be shaped by: new technology, educational changes, family dynamics, separation or divorce.
Let’s talk a bit about anxiety…
Recently, we came across an interesting article published on NorthJersey.com (owned and operated by North Jersey Media Group), Kids and anxiety: Parents face a conundrum over whether to seek help.
We hope you will take a few minutes and read the whole article, it offers helpful information and insights from professionals that may guide parents to consider getting help for their child or children. For example:
Anxiety is the most prevalent psychiatric illness among children and teens. As many as 1 in 4 children and adolescents are affected by an anxiety disorder at one or more times in their lives; disorders can strike children as young as 3 but typically gets diagnosed between ages 7 and 9, according to mental health experts.
Kara Yorio, staff writer for The Record offered: “…for children who have significant anxiety issues that are disrupting their lives, intervention is imperative. Years ago, many parents took a “they’ll grow out of it” stance, but research has shown that isn’t the case for kids with true anxiety disorders. Intervention is important.”
And Dr. Anne Marie Albano, who is the director of Columbia University’s Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders added: ‘ “The more the child struggles with anxiety early, the more likely they develop more anxiety disorders over time.” By middle childhood and adolescence, anxiety disorders can lead to depression and substance abuse.’
Intervention is important…
Many parents and other family members would be quick to agree that making the decision to intervene was a positive step for the child suffering from anxiety and for the entire family. There are also many parents and family members who did not seek help early on and years later found their child struggling with substance abuse and other mood disorders like depression. As time goes by the intervention, rather than planned and safely executed by a professional (doctor, counselor or trained interventionist) will wind up being managed by the court system or the medical professionals trying to save the family member who may have overdosed, attempted suicide or had a life threatening motor vehicle accident.
Some closing thoughts…
Parenting is a journey. It is not always an easy journey. There can be many twists and turns along the way. It is important to remember that resources are available. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand and be your child’s advocate. Talk to your primary care physician, talk to your child’s teacher(s), talk to someone in your Employee Assistance Program, talk to your school’s nurse, or even call your local hospital for information.
If you want to talk about planning an intervention…contact us.