7 ways to support and encourage emotional growth in children and teens

7 ways to support and encourage emotional growth in children and teens

With anxiety levels, low self-esteem and depression reaching an all-time high, how can we help foster more self-care, self-reflection, and growth in children and teens? Self-improvement and personal growth aren’t just areas reserved for adults looking to enrich their lives or enhance their career prospects. They’re important aspects of life that can help us to develop skills and better understand ourselves at any age. According to the latest figures released by Place2Be , 95% of staff at schools are seeing an increase in anxiety levels among students. 86% have noted an increase in low-self esteem, 76% in depression, and 68% in anger. For secondary school staff, 72% have noticed an increase in self-harm, 61% in suicidal thoughts, and 56% in eating difficulties. With less than a quarter (23%) feeling they could regularly access specialist support for students who need it, now more than ever we need to find ways to... Read more

How to be Your Child’s Therapist: Part 1

One of the most dramatic and immediate social effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the reintroduction of small children to the weekday household, a result of the widespread school closures which began in early 2020 and have persisted as occasional, less-frequent cancellations and delays in our ongoing public health crisis. Just as our children have appeared suddenly in our remote workdays, in the middle of our zoom meetings and conference calls, with their many questions and needs, so too have they naturally taken up a greater space in our inner lives–and therefore the psychoanalytic session. As a psychoanalyst, I have observed a remarkable shift in the content of many sessions with parents of small children. Where once there was preoccupation with their own childhoods, there might now be an acute awareness of the childhood of their own children; where once romantic and professional anxieties led the session, now there... Read more

Child Sleep Problems Affect Mothers and Fathers Differently

After the birth of children, fragmentation of parental night sleep and fatigue due to the nightly demands of the infant are common.1 Indeed, there is evidence that mothers’ and fathers’ fatigue increase immediately following the birth of their child.1,2 Resulting in insufficient, non-restful sleep, this poses a stress factor for parental health, daily well-being, and functioning.3 In contrast, good children’s sleep quality predicted good maternal sleep.4 Most often, this is a temporary problem and infants develop the competence to fall asleep independently in the evening and go back to sleep after night waking during the first year of life.5,6 However, about 20–30% of the infants and young children are affected by sleep problems during the entire first 3 years of childhood and need support by a caregiver to fall asleep.7–10 Consequently, many parents are concerned with difficulties pertaining to their own sleep as well as handling their children’s sleep problems.... Read more

How to teach kids to be mindful

How to teach kids to be mindful

Mindfulness can regulate children's emotions by being more balanced because they are focused on the here and now. There are plenty of perks to being a child – no bills, little responsibility. But do you know the worst part? You have no idea what you are feeling. You may lash out and be branded a trouble maker, hide yourself and be labelled shy, or just keep sweating the small stuff because you don’t know that what you are feeling is overwhelmed and sometimes, that’s just as common as breathing. Unresolved, unarticulated feelings can create a tsunami of rage in a person; in a child, even more so. The experts believe this is where mindfulness comes in. Mandeep Jassal, Behavioural Therapist, Priory Wellbeing Centre, explains: “Mindfulness is a practical and simple way of noticing things around us that we don't usually notice. Mindfulness for children can help train their attention back... Read more

Anxiety and Anxiety Based Disorders guidance11-16 year olds

Anxiety is a word we use to describe feelings of worry, fear and panic. As well as these emotional feelings, people with anxiety might also experience physical (body) sensations such as a racing heart, breathing fast, sweaty hands, dry mouth and feeling shaky. Many people also have “what if” or negative thoughts when they are anxious. Anxiety is a normal human response to feeling threatened or in danger, even if that threat or danger is a thought, image or memory. Anxiety can become a real problem if the thoughts, emotions (feelings) and physical sensations are very strong, happen even when there is no real danger or if it lasts for a long time. Lots of people experience worry and anxiety although for some people it can impact on everyday life and get in the way of school/college, socialising and even home life. All young people will worry and feel anxious... Read more

How to tell if your child is being bullied online and what to do

How to tell if your child is being bullied online and what to do

In addition to possible bullying at school, there is now the added concern for parents of cyberbullying online, which can be difficult to monitor and detect. Anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label found nearly one in five (19%) children aged 10-15 in the UK experience cyberbullying, equating to approximately 764,000 children. That's a huge and worrying number. To help parents navigate online bullying, Envirofone has collaborated with Dr Kalanit Ben-Ari, a child development expert and founder of online parenting community, The Village, to share tips on how to spot if your child is being bullied online and how to approach the situation. How online trolling can affect a child Short term effects "Online trolling can harm a child's sense of safety, joy, and trust in others. It can cause them to withdraw from social interactions, anxiety and be closed off in their bedroom, affecting their self-esteem, mental health, and in some... Read more

Comorbid ADHD Complicates Most Diagnoses and Treatment Plans

Comorbid ADHD Complicates Most Diagnoses and Treatment Plans

An accurate ADHD evaluation must screen for far more than ADHD. Though 60 percent of people with ADHD have some co-existing psychiatric condition1, comorbidities rarely factor into the evaluation — leading to an incomplete diagnosis. You have ADHD, but what else might you have? Or, no, you do not have ADHD but rather some other condition that explains the symptoms that led you to seek help. This is why checklist evaluations, while helpful screening tools, are inadequate by themselves. You need to sit down and talk to a human being and tell your story. In medical parlance, this is called sharing your history, and your history is the most revealing and useful test in all of medicine. While most mental health professionals do not perform a physical exam, the “history and physical” remains the cornerstone of a medical evaluation. Whether you’ve yet to undergo an ADHD evaluation, or you’ve already... Read more

Internet vigilance can protect children, teens from online predators

Internet vigilance can protect children, teens from online predators

Devin Vargas didn’t think there was anything to worry about when interacting with people online. Vargas, like many teenagers, had heard it all before in school assemblies, from parents, or in lectures from people older than them. For many children growing up in a digital age, online safety is something hammered into them from a young age. However, when Vargas was old enough to be in online spaces, things were different than expected. “You’re told in school that predators are going to look a very specific kind of way. They’re going to come and ask for your personal information, but you don’t really expect they’re going to come to you under the guise of friendship,” Vargas said. On social media accounts, Vargas could find people to connect with in ways that felt more authentic than most real-life friendships. Vargas had friends at school, but online friends were different. These friends... Read more

How Many Christmas Presents Should You Buy Your Children?

How Many Christmas Presents Should You Buy Your Children?

One of the most celebrated traditions of Christmas is sharing gifts with your loved ones. For that reason, Christmas is one of the holidays most favored by children, who are often treated to several toys and other gifts on the day. Toy sales in the U.S. soared in 2020, with millions of families kept home by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a February 2021 statement from the Toy Association: "One silver lining of the pandemic is that it has helped families rediscover the joys of spending time together and find value in bringing play into their daily lives." The association projected that this year families would be "seeking new toys that promote togetherness, as well as inclusive playthings that can be enjoyed by kids of varying abilities and interests," the statement said. But can these toys and other gifts become dangerous for a child's health? Can Too Many Gifts Be... Read more

Cumulative risk exposure and emotional symptoms among early adolescent girls

From early adolescence, girls and women report the highest rates of emotional symptoms, and there is evidence of increased prevalence in recent years. We investigate risk factors and cumulative risk exposure (CRE) in relation to emotional symptoms among early adolescent girls. Four risk factors were found to have a statistically significant relationship with emotional symptoms among early adolescent girls: low academic attainment, special educational needs, low family income, and caregiving responsibilities. CRE was positively associated with emotional symptoms, with a small effect size. Results identify risk factors (outlined above) that are associated with emotional symptoms among early adolescent girls, and highlight that early adolescent girls experiencing a greater number of risk factors in their lives are likely to also experience greater emotional distress. Findings highlight the need for identification and targeted mental health intervention (e.g., individual or group counselling, approaches targeting specific symptoms), for those facing greater risk and/or with... Read more

Autistic and Gifted: How to Support a Twice-Exceptional Child

Autistic and Gifted: How to Support a Twice-Exceptional Child

Autism and giftedness can go hand in hand. Twice-exceptional kids have great ability, but they also face certain challenges. Giftedness and autism share some qualities, like intellectual excitability and sensory differences. Some kids have these qualities because they’re both gifted and autistic. If your child is nonverbal and shies away from eye contact and touch but can play piano concertos after hearing them only once, it’s easy to spot the coexistence of autism and giftedness. It’s usually not that obvious, though. Not all autistic kids avoid eye contact or shun hugs, and many are great conversationalists. Meanwhile, only a few gifted kids are prodigies with exceptional recall. It’s more likely you’ve noticed that your child has some impressive, detailed knowledge about a focused interest, plus they show bouts of emotional intensity or sensory issues that are common in gifted children. Giftedness is extraordinary ability, high IQ, or both. It’s a... Read more

Developing Emotional Intelligence in Children

Developing Emotional Intelligence in Children

Emotional Intelligence means we are in tune with our emotions and use this information to deal with them in the most effective and healthy way possible. The challenges of the past few weeks, and uncertainty of the near future is possibly some of the most emotionally difficult time you and your family have experienced. There has been a great deal of information written specifically on how to help children through this time and bring a sense of normalcy into their lives. As this process unfolds, the challenges will continue, and our "normal" will be forever changed. To help our children and ourselves move through and grow from this time, we can give some extra thought to the concept of Emotional Intelligence; what it means, why it is important and how do we help it develop? Emotional Intelligence means we are in tune with our emotions and use this information to... Read more

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