News — Worry Wise

Transitions: How to Lean In and Adjust to Change

Transitions ©BrianAJacksonAs summer draws to a close we all get that feeling, maybe a sinking feeling—the end of something. It can hit hard even if next week will look pretty much the same as last week. This summer my husband and I are transitioning into empty-nesting as our younger daughter settles into college. It feels like transition with a capital “T.” But no matter the size or circumstance, it helps to remember and trust that we all adjust to change, it’s in our DNA. Let’s trust that we’ll adjust, together.

 

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Back to School Cheat Sheet for Anxious Kids

Back to School AnxietyThe other day I got an email from a dedicated school counselor asking for tips to share with parents about the back to school anxieties that are keeping everyone up at night. Every August we get that uneasy transition-y feeling-- even if it's been decades since we had to gather our school supplies and get on the bus! Though most kids navigate these transitions well and settle into routines within a couple weeks, that doesn't mean there aren't some back to school worries and fears. Here are some ideas for parents and school personnel to help kids manage those worries, put them in their place, and have a great start to the school year. Here's to less worry all around!

 

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How to Talk to Kids in the Wake of Tragedy

Tragedy

In the aftermath of tragedy it is hard for adults to cope and harder still to know what to say to kids to help them manage their emotions: fear, grief, and uncertainty. The Child Mind Institute has published an excellent guide for parents, medical professionals, mental health professionals, teachers, and clergy with printable pdf pages. Please share widely. Click here for more ideas. Thank you for your help in making the world a safer place for us all. 

 

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Rethinking the Path to Empathy: When it's Hard to Connect, Step into Your Own Shoes First

EmpathyWhat is the path to empathy? We have all been urged (or at times, chided) to "step into someone else's shoes," But just as we might strain to comprehend the extent of the physical pain someone is experiencing when they look so normal, so like us on the outside, we can strain to fathom the extent of emotional distress others endure in the absence--to us-- of a good enough cause. In other words, try as we might, someone else's shoes just might not fit. That's OK. We don't have to understand what someone else is feeling, we just have to want to. Instead of doing the far stretch into someone else's shoes, as fellow human beings we all understand suffering-- whether from anxiety, or loss, or pain, so we can step into our own shoes, flip through our own feelings of vulnerability and find a "good enough" empathic match. Here are some ideas to run with (in your empathy shoes!). Here's to less worry and more empathy all around.

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Looking At Anxiety Through the Lens of "Little Panic"

Little Panic"Panic is hard to understand if you haven't experienced it," this is what a twelve year old girl recently told me through her tears, upset that her parents can't understand her and so can't help her feel better. Her parents  (and the millions of other parents of kids with anxiety) are upset because they want to empathize and help, but don't know how. How can parents get up to speed so that kids aren't feeling lost and alone with frightening symptoms and experiences that they themselves can't understand? A new memoir called Little Panic by writer and mental health advocate Amanda Stern gives us some powerful answers. Little Panic illuminates with poignancy, clarity and wit, Stern's experience of and ultimate triumph over growing up with an undiagnosed panic disorder. Stern's spot on descriptions of the struggles of anxious kids have become my go to for parents who want to understand what anxiety feels like to a child, but importantly, Stern's story and her life will inspire adults struggling with anxiety to see that with knowledge and persistence you really can free yourself from anxiety and live the life you want. Please check out Little Panic!

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How to Survive Summer with Bored Kids: Give Them Just Enough Structure

Bored KidsLast week I was on a work call with a parent whose pre-teen kept interrupting our conversation with the frustrating refrain, “I’m so bored. There’s nothing to do, what am I supposed to do?” Without a plan in place, screen time is the default much to our kids delight and our dismay. Fear not! Here are some easy ideas to create and sustain just the right amount of structure with your child to make it a great summer for all.

 

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Kids, Anxiety and Sports: How to Train Like a Pro

Resilient Young Athletes istock by permissionWelcome to Part Two in our series on Kids and Sports. In Part One, we looked at parenting ideas to support your young athlete. Here, we focus on what kids themselves can do. As much as your child's athletic success comes from building up their skills, working on their emotional management system--how to handle disappointment and keep their head in the game—will help them soar ever higher! Let’s make this season one where kids build up their resilience and flexibility along with their skills pitching, running, and sliding into home base. Here are some ideas to share with your kids, their coaches, and parents and teammates. Here's to a great season!

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How to Survive College Rejection

College Decisions istock by permissionWith college decisions rolling in this month, March madness isn’t just about basketball. I will refrain from getting up on my soapbox about the major shortcomings of our college admissions process, and the cost(!), and get right to the issue at hand: handling disappointment and doing damage control. Rejection is a sting, but it’s not the rejection itself that matters-- that is part of life-- but how your student interprets the meaning of that rejection which matters most. Bottom line: interpret small: this is about this college, now, not big: this is not about my whole life and self-worth, forever. Here are tips for parents and students to not get derailed by misinterpreting the meaning when a college says no.

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Kids and Sports: How to Parent Your Anxious, Perfectionistic Athlete

Disappointment ©Istock by permission LSOphotoSpring is nearly here and that means spring sports are underway! I am thrilled that my book, Freeing Your Child from Anxiety, just became a number one best-seller in Children’s Sports on Amazon. It makes me so happy to think about how parents and coaches are teaching kids to lower the stakes, not the standards so that their young athletes can free themselves from perfectionism and worry, and in so doing, grow and thrive. I love supporting kids' efforts in sports and have so many ideas to share, so I have two blogposts. In this first piece, I share ideas for parenting an anxious athlete, in part two you'll find ideas for what kids can do to free themselves from anxiety in sports. Here’s to a great season for all!

 

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Learning to Meet in the “Aha Middle” of Your Disagreements: A Valentine’s Day Aspiration

Moosehook © Phillip Stern 2019It's Valentine's Day and as much as I love flowers and candy (make that cupcakes, please) I also like writing about the wonders and challenges of love-- and that's what this post is all about. Written with my husband and book illustrator, Phillip Stern, we explore how poignant misunderstandings lead to greater connection. Do you know the feeling? Love is work and it is worth it! Happy Valentine's Day, all!

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Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking-- Second Edition Underway!

Freeing Your Child from Negative ThinkingIn 2008 I wrote Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking to give parents tools to help their kids learn how to outsmart the negative tricks the mind can play. Fast-forward 10 years and the number of children and teens struggling with negative-thought fueled depression and anxiety is multiplying at an alarming rate. Time for an update. I am embarking on a 2nd edition of Negative Thinking which will be released just in time for the new school year September, 2019. I'd love to hear your thoughts and requests for the Second Edition-- contact@tamarchansky.com, in the meantime, here's a synopsis of the steps and as always-- here's to less worry, and less negativity, all around!

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Anxiety Across the Lifespan on WHYY's "The Pulse"

Anxiety, iStock with Permission PeopleImagesI recently spoke about anxiety in children on a special program about anxiety across the lifespan on "The Pulse," a program on our NPR affiliate, WHYY, right here in Philadelphia. The program includes segments on children, adults, new moms and even senior citizens-- what anxiety feels like on the inside, and the very effective treatments available which can be life changing. I hope you’ll listen to the program and find comfort that you are not alone. Treatment is very effect; you can find a therapist at www.adaa.org. As always, here’s to less worry all around!

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Heading to College? It's OK to be Homesick

Homesick

Close to twenty million students will head off to college this year, about a quarter of those for the very first time. Along with their hopes, dreams, boxes of microwave popcorn, laptop and cozy comforter, they will bring along their fears, and that's normal. Homesickness isn't exactly about missing home, it's about missing what's familiar. Given a little bit of time, college will become familiar and will feel like home. Here are many ideas to help that transition along: first an article I wrote about strategies for managing homesickness, and then a few links on the subject. The bottom line with any transition: trust you'll adjust. You always do. Here's to a great school year for all!

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Ready, Set, College! How to Emotionally (and Practically) Prepare Your Teen

Teen College Readiness © istock djedzura by permissionIs your teen heading to college? If you're wondering whether to give them a free pass for the summer because of how hard they've worked to get to this point, yes congratulations are in order, but please think again! The resilience your student needs to thrive in the transition to college and beyond can best be learned at home, it's not too late. Here are some dos and dont's to guide you through a productive summer for all. While they may grumble through your lessons on laundry and budgeting and setting their own alarms, getting these skills well under way now will mean less stress later... and hey.... clean clothes! Happy summer, graduates!

 

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School's Out! Help for Panicked Parents and Bored Kids

Bored KidsHappy summer! How many parents are already having that "what's wrong with this picture?" feeling as they are juggling job, dishes, laundry, and the insistent "I"m hungry!" followed by "There's nothing good to eat!" proclamations, while their kids are mostly sleeping in, waking only to hunker down to Netflix, Minecraft, or similar. Lack of structure can be our downfall. What's the best order-to-chaos ratio so that summer still feels like fun? Check out these ideas. Your child may not thank you, but if you are a calmer parent this summer, that's a win for all. 

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How to Calm Your Pre-Wedding Jitters: Royal or Otherwise

Wedding JittersAre we excited about the royal wedding? How can we not be? Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are easily a fairytale couple, but when you listen to their story you can’t help but be struck by the genuineness of their affection for each other. Remarkably, they didn't know anything about each other and had to get to know each other themselves—wow, kind of like the rest of us! How did Prince Harry propose? Not at the Eiffel tower, or on some exotic exclusive island—but grounded, at home, in the kitchen, while trying to roast a chicken. How lovely is that? They know they need to keep choosing to focus their energy on nurturing their relationship and that is how they, and all of us, make meant to be happen each day. If you are getting jitters anticipating your own wedding coming up—here is a blogpost to help calm your nerves and warm your cold feet. Best wishes to all the happy couples. Here's to love!

 

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Empathy 101: How to Listen Instead of Handing Out a To do List

Gratner/iStock by permissionDon't you love it when your kids teach you things that you thought you already knew... maybe even things that you thought you were already good at? I do actually really love when that happens (especially when I can blog about it!) and such was the case with an impromptu lesson for me, courtesy of my older daughter, on empathy. I hope her tagline: Empathy, period, resonates with you as much as it did with me. Here's to more empathy all around.

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Spring Cleaning Your Relationship: Making More Room for Love

Magnolia in Bloom/ ©2018 Mireilla Stern used with permissionHappy spring! While we are in the midst of cleaning up our closets, our cars, our desks (well, some of us anyway, but that's another story-- please see previous blogpost about who isn't doing that)-- let's not forget about the care and attention of our relationships with our significant others! Here are some ideas for sprucing up and clearing away the clutter with those most important people in our lives.

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Spring Cleaning Your Mind: Clearing Away the Clutter of Negative Thoughts

DaffodilsHello all, welcome to spring! In the time that I started and finished these next two blog posts-- the first about spring cleaning for your mind, the second about spring cleaning your relationship-- the weather went from snow, to the balmy 70's, and now back to pulling out the coats and hats. If nothing else, all of these changes are helping us work on our flexibility! And this is really what our well being within ourselves and in our relationships is all about. Happy spring cleaning!

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Yes, Your Teen is Going to College, But Are They Ready?

Acceptance

What a very exciting time for families of high school seniors. College decisions are being finalized and the future is looking bright. After the arduous journey of the last several years which has brought you to this moment, it is understandable that families will be breathing a deserved sigh of relief and ready to coast until August. My advice to parents? Coast not. Catch your breath, but then take this opportunity to help your student prepare emotionally for the transition. Hint: this may involve doing less laundry and dishes for them.... 

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How to (Lovingly) Teach Your Bossy Child Some New Lines

Bossy Child/ShutterstockHave you ever-- like 5 minutes ago when your child seated in front of his hamburger, demanded "Ketchup!" as if no other explanation were required-- felt that there is something wrong with the hierarchy in your family? Aren't parents supposed to be in charge? Don't worry, EVERY parent feels this way sometimes, no matter how well behaved their child is, nor whether their day job is a therapist talking to families about these issues all the time...  In this blog post I take on the challenge of the bossy child. Spoiler alert: It's all good news, and the solution is at least a two-person job. So roll up your sleeves and enjoy.

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How to Stay Connected When Valentine's Day is a Family Affair

Kissing coupleHappy Valentine's Day! Yes, we are all a bit weary of the hype, but when it comes down to it, what a great opportunity to pause and appreciate the wonder of love in your life! For parents it can be challenging to stay connected when kids are in the mix, but there is one very important way you can do this. Today and every day. Check it out!

 

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New Year's Resolution for Your Relationship: More Kissing

Smiling couple

You may be wondering what kissing has to do with anxiety, and why I am writing a blogpost about it. I think we would all agree that the best antidote to anxiety-- that sense of threat and fear-- is connection. Sometimes the stresses of daily life interfere with our ability to connect and that disconnect can ripple out into the family. But connection and stability are contagious, too and children thrive in a family built on harmony and love. So, this new year's, resolve to bring more love and meaning into your home every day-- a simple kiss is a great way to start. Happy, healthy new year to all!

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Parents Aren't Perfect: What to Do When the Wrong Words Come Out of Your Mouth

ParentShould we hate it when our kids catch us with a double-standard, or should we be proud? Should we be embarrassed, or relieved to know that our kids have been listening to what we've been saying (well enough to know when we're not following our own rules), even if they're not necessarily following the rules themselves? This blog post was inspired by a moment when our older daughter "caught me" name calling when I accused her of being "closed minded." Yes, that's name-calling. That counts. So here is what I've learned since that moment, or at least what I'm trying to learn! Enjoy.

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How to Help Your Child Succeed in School: Don't Do Their Homework for Them

Homework picture

We want our kids to succeed in life, but what's our role? Often the dilemma comes-- do we go ahead and finish that homework assignment for them? Check the homework portal for tests? Neaten up their backpack each week? The most important lesson we can teach our children is how to do their homework for themsleves. Instead of micromanaging or doing for, we can teach them good work habits that will last a lifetime. So take a deep breath and step back; here comes your child!

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