Does My Child Have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? (Revised)

Confused EmotiguyAs a clinical child psychologist, I often get asked by parents, “Does my child have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?” Usually parents will inquire about ADD or ADHD because they have received complaints from the teachers about their child’s behavior. Similarly, some of the teenagers I work with question whether they have ADHD because they have difficulties concentrating and focusing at school. And parents occasionally wonder the same thing about themselves. That is, parents sometimes see similarities between their child’s attention problems and their own, whether as adults in the workforce or in terms of difficulties they had when they were their child’s age.

It is important to note that while attention, concentration, and focus problems can be an indication of ADD or ADHD, these problems can also occur for many other reasons.

Read moreDoes My Child Have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? (Revised)

The Worry Jar Technique: Help Your Child Overcome Worries and Anxiety

Nervous-ChildIt may seem like your child worries a lot of the time and about everything. Children can worry about all sorts of things, such as safety issues, tests and school work, friends, family, health, the planet, and more. They may seek reassurance and ask you questions repeatedly about their worries. By asking you about their worry, your child may feel better for a short while, but then some time later, you may notice that your child asks you again about the same worry. This tells you that your child’s worry did not go away (as you had thought or had hoped). Click here for more information on children’s anxiety.

In a previous post called Help for the Anxious Child, Anxious Teen, and Anxious Parent, I introduced breathing techniques as a good foundation for the toolkit to cope with anxiety and stress. I also presented in another post about the “What If” Game the idea of distancing yourself and gaining a new perspective over worries by recognizing the ‘game’ the mind is playing and calling it like it is. Learning about how the brain works and how to regulate one’s emotions through mindfulness practices will further help you and your child manage big feelings. You can read more about it in My Brain Team: What To Do When Emotions Run High.

In this post, I will share with you about the worry jar, which is one of my favourite techniques to help an anxious child contain their worries.

Read moreThe Worry Jar Technique: Help Your Child Overcome Worries and Anxiety

Steps for Taming Your Child’s Anger

What is Anger?

character-kicking-shows-stress-and-anger

Anger is an emotional reaction to a real or perceived threat. Anger signals to us that something is wrong. Anger is a normal feeling we may experience when our personal DANGER alarms are turned on. Anger helps to prepare the body to “fight” when the “fight, flight or freeze” response of the autonomic nervous system has been triggered. That is, anger gives us the energy we need to right wrongs or combat threats. The problem with anger is that it can get too big and out of control very quickly. This is what happens when the little spark becomes a flame and then a raging fire. And, in general, it does not feel good in your body to be mad or to have someone be mad at you.

How we learn to cope with our own anger and teach anger management to our children is a different story.

Read moreSteps for Taming Your Child’s Anger

How You and Your Teen Can Quiet the Inner Critic

fireheadbysalvatorevuonoWhy is it that we are our own worst critics? Why do we say such mean things to ourselves and call ourselves names (e.g., “fat”, “ugly”, “stupid”, “not good enough”, “failure”, etc) when we would never dare to say such awful things to our closest friends or acquaintances? Unfortunately, we often allow ourselves and somehow give ourselves permission to be so self-critical. We tend to be more understanding and to have more compassion for others than we do for ourselves. Indeed, it seems a lot easier to give compliments to others than to accept and to believe the compliments we hear.

Is there a purpose to this self-criticism? Yes. The answer is motivation. The reason we can be so judgemental and critical is to motivate us to change.

Read moreHow You and Your Teen Can Quiet the Inner Critic

Recommended Books for the Anxious Child

In an earlier post about help for the anxious child, anxious teen, and anxious parent, I discussed building your toolkit and building your child’s toolkit of strategies to help cope with anxiety. I focused on learning breathing techniques and then teaching them to your child or adolescent in order to provide you, your child, and/or your teen with the foundation and starting point for your toolkit.

In my clinical practice with young children, school-aged children, and teenagers, I often recommend to my clients and/or their parents different books that can support and reinforce the work we do together. These books about anxiety are helpful resources that can enhance learning and the therapeutic process. I thought I would share five recommendations for young children and school-aged children

Read moreRecommended Books for the Anxious Child

Help for the Anxious Child, Anxious Teen, and Anxious Parent

Kids and teens have worries and experience stress and anxiety just like their parents. Indeed, we can feel anxious, worried, overwhelmed or stressed at any age – young and old alike.

Sometimes anxiety may seem to run in the family. Ever notice that your child or teen is anxious just like you? That is because children are very perceptive and attuned to their parents, almost like they have antennae where they can essentially pick up and sense your moods and signals. Children watch closely your actions and behaviours and they listen carefully to what you say (even though they are busy playing or doing other things).

The upside of this is that children learn not only from what you teach them but also from observing you. You can help your child or teen, both directly and indirectly, manage and cope with stress and anxiety. I know it is a cliche, but it is very important that you practice what you preach.

Where to begin? Build your toolkit, build your child’s or teenager’s toolkit.

The first and most important tool is to change your breathing.

Read moreHelp for the Anxious Child, Anxious Teen, and Anxious Parent

The “What If” Game: To worry or not to worry?

Worries. We all have them. Some of us worry a lot whereas others worry a little. Some worries are about important and big issues and some may be about small details. Worries can be about realistic and probable events or about unlikely occurrences. Regardless of the type of worries, they can be on our minds at all hours of the day and night affecting our daily functioning and our ability to sleep.

Insomnia

When we are worried, the mind seems to take on a life of its own and we can get wound up with seemingly incessant and bothersome thoughts and questions (such as…What if this happens? What if that happens? What if I can’t do it? What if I fail? What if I had done this instead of that? What if I said this? etc). The worrying questions can not only be about ourselves but also about our loved ones, including our children (e.g., what if my child gets hurt? What if my child fails his test? What if my child is being teased at school?). The questions may seem to repeat and to go on forever…and ever. Ugh!!!!

I call it the dreaded “what if” game!

Read moreThe “What If” Game: To worry or not to worry?

Hello!

Welcome to my website! Thanks for checking it out!!

Allow me to briefly introduce myself. My name is Dr. Stephanie Margolese (but you can call me Dr. Stephanie if you like). I am a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in assessing and treating young children to older adolescents and their parents. To find out more, please check out the About Me tab on the main menu.

I am hoping to use this site and blog as an opportunity to provide you with helpful resources, answer your questions, and to write about topics of interest to you. Feel free to contact me for your ideas, questions, comments, and inquiries!

Please come again and stay tuned for more information!

Best wishes,
Dr. Stephanie Margolese