Tag: Child Anxiety

Children and Natural Disasters

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Posted on by Kimberley O'Brien

Natural disasters can be very traumatic for children and adults, alike. Often they happen suddenly, with little time to react, and can leave behind a great deal of destruction to land, homes, and people’s lives.

Following disasters such as the recent floods in Queensland and Victoria, parents are often left wondering how best to address these  traumatic natural disasters events with their children.

The type and amount of information you provide your child after a natural disasters is dependent on their age. However, simple explanations that reassure children that they are safe and let them know that you are there caring for them will help.

Tips for Parents

  • Try to keep routines. If they have been disrupted,  help re- establish routines as soon as possible, as these are essential for children to grow and develop typically.
  • Limit exposure to the media, and adult conversation about the natural disaster. Children are very much influenced by the responses and feelings of parents and other adults. Seek support for yourself of friends and colleagues
  • Answer any questions that your child may have about natural disasters. Be honest without giving a lot of detail.
  • Talk about the events related to the natural disasters if your child brings it up, don’t try to change the subject. It’s important to correct any ‘false’ ideas young children may have.
  • Give children a chance to discuss their experiences of the natural disaster, and to share their fears. This will assist them in their ability to move on.
  • Be available and reassuring.
  • Help children gain a sense of self control by allowing them to make choices, that are age appropriate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzD2Jr8PfhU

It can take weeks, months, sometimes years, for children to fully recover from the stress they may have experienced during a natural disaster. Each child is different. The more consistent children’s daily routines are and remain after a disaster, the better they will be able to adjust and move forward.

Recognising stress in children after a Natural Disasters

Young children

  • sleep problems,
  • going backwards in their development, e.g. wetting the bed, clinging and behaviour problems.

School aged children

  • not wanting to go to school,
  • nightmares,
  • behaviour problems,
  • physical symptoms, e.g. headaches or tummy aches.

Young Adults

  • Withdrawn,
  • Appear depressed,
  • React aggressive under stress.

If you notice that your child’s reaction to stress or trauma due to a natural disaster is not lessening over time, or is becoming worse, it may be beneficial to seek some professional advice. For more information on how the Quirky Kid Clinic can help, or to schedule an appointment please contact us.

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Information for this fact sheet was taken from an interview with Child Psychologist Kimberley O’Brien, the Raising Children Network website and the following article.

Foulks, D. (2005). Nurturing Children After Natural Disasters. A Booklet for Child Care Providers, National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. Arlington, Virginia, 1-16.

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Back to School @ Daily Telegraph

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Kimberley O’Brien, our principal child psychologist, discussed starting the new school year with Daily Telegraph reporter, Mercedes Maguire. You can find useful, practical and informative advice about parenting by visiting our resources page, – or discussing it on our forum.

To view the full article please visit the Daily Telegraph online.

If you have a story and would like to discuss it with us, please contact us to schedule a time. Kimberley O’Brien enjoys sharing the best of her therapeutic moments with the media. View our media appearances to-date.

School Experiences @ Voyeur Magazine

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Kimberley discussed changes in the school experience across generations with Lottie Barr from Voyeur, Virgin Blue’s in-flight magazine. You can find more information on the changes in schools over time, study pressure and performance anxiety, by visiting our resources page or discussing it on our forum.

View the full article. Go to page 30

If you have a story and would like to discuss it with us, please contact us to schedule a time. Kimberley O’Brien enjoys sharing the best of her therapeutic moments with the media. View our media appearances to-date.

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Visit the New Quirky Kid Shoppe for more assistance in improving your child school experience. Below are some recommended resources

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Generalised Anxiety Disorder

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Children with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) experience high levels of anxiety and worry about a number of events or activities, and find it difficult to control these worries.  They may worry about as punctuality, school performance or catastrophic events such as earthquakes. The intensity, duration or frequency of the child’s worries is far out of proportion to the actual likelihood of what they fear.  In addition to their worries, these children often experience restlessness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension and disturbed sleep. Children with GAD typically seek approval excessively and require constant reassurance about their performance and their other worries.

What should I look for?

  • Does your child have excessive anxiety or worry about a number of events or activities?
  • Does your child find it difficult to control their worries?
  • Does your child appear restless or ‘on edge’?
  • Is your child easily fatigued?
  • Does your child have difficulty concentrating?
  • Does your child appear irritable?
  • Does your child appear tense?
  • Does your child have difficulty falling or staying asleep?
  • Does your child have restless and unsatisfying sleep?

Recommended Resources:

The Quirky Kid Shoppe has select useful resources for parenting and children experiencing Separation Anxiety and others forms of Anxiety.

Recommended Resources for Anxiety

How can the Quirky Kid Clinic help your child?

The Quirky Kid Clinic is a unique place for children and adolescents aged 2-18 years. We work from the child’s perspective to help them find their own solutions.  If you suspect your child may be experiencing symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder you might consider one of the following options:

Reference:

American Psychiatric Association:Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

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Separation Anxiety

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Separation Anxiety in children is characterized by a extreme level of anxiety when the child is separated from their home, family members and parents. Children displaying signs of Separation Anxiety often become homesick, do not want to attend school, avoid visiting friends houses or may not be able to enter a room on their own. In addition, children can have difficult around bedtime and may insist that someone stay with them until they are asleep. Another characteristic is psychical pains like, stomach aches, nauseas and vomiting, especially when separation occurs. Below you can find more information on what to look for before asking for help.

What should I look for?

  • Does your child show excessive anxiety relating to their separation from home or people such as Mum or Dad? Is this level of anxiety unreasonable for a child of their age?
  • Is your child repeatedly distressed when they are separated, or think they are going to be separated, from home or from Mum or Dad or another significant person?
  • Is your child constantly worried about something happening to a family member, such as an accident or illness?
  • Does your child worry that something will happen that will separate him/her from the home or family?
  • Does your child refuse to go to school or participate in other activities away from the home or significant family members?
  • Is your child excessively scared of being left alone or being without significant family members in other settings?
  • Does your child refuse to go to sleep without being near a significant person, or does s/he refuse to sleep away from home?
  • Does your child have repeated nightmares about separation?
  • Does your child complain of physical symptoms when s/he thinks s/he is going to be separated from his/her home or significant family members?

Recommended Resources

The Quirky Kid Shoppe has select useful resources for parenting and children experiencing Separation Anxiety and others forms of Anxiety.

Recommended Resources for Anxiety

How can the Quirky Kid Clinic help your child?

The Quirky Kid Clinic is a unique place for children and adolescents aged 2-18 years. We work from the child’s perspective to help them find their own solutions. If you suspect your child may be experiencing symptoms of Separation Anxiety, you might consider one the following options:

  • Book an individual session with our experienced Child Psychologists
  • Register for the Why worry workshop and Sydney or register for Why Worry in Melbourne or
  • Contact us for more information

Reference:
American Psychiatric Association:Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

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