Child Anxiety

Child anxiety, can present as refusal or reluctance to go to school which so easily arises from a child’s anxiety manifesting as extreme shyness or nervousness. They could have difficulty or fear interacting with their peers so develop a strong need to stay at home with family members. Their anguish may be expressed in the form of frequent temper tantrums, crying bouts, broken sleep and/or nightmares. Bedwetting is not unusual. The anxious child who does attend school may also have difficulty in concentrating and so their academic performance tends to drops off, neither is it unusual for children to present with physical complaints such as headaches, stomach-ache, muscle aches and general tiredness.

Tackling child anxiety successfully is of paramount importance for the sanity and well-being of both parent and child. We need to therefore consider a number of strategies.

Firstly, we need to question how effective we are as Primary carers/parents in creating a stable, predictable environment at home. What this means, is that we need to develop routines at home so our children know what is coming up next. The bedtime routine for instance, has the same format each evening i.e. the evening meal is followed by play time then having a wash/bath and leading to getting dressed into pyjamas prior to a cuddle and read before bed. Likewise there would be a set routine in the morning which might be getting dressed after getting up, eating breakfast and only playing with toys/watching TV when they are completely ready for school. These examples do sound quite ‘picture perfect’ especially when these two periods of the day are the very times that our children are likely to play up and become difficult to manage. So how might we manage this situation positively, how might we make it happen?

As parents we need to buy into the concept of being consistent and therefore being predictable. No matter how much our children play up, we need to resist giving in and consistently stick to the set of home rules that we have already put in place. These prominently placed home rules of which there should be no more than five, are placed somewhere visible (in picture form for younger children). House rule examples could be something like ‘Always use a quiet voice indoors’, ‘Always knock and wait, before entering someone’s bedroom’, ‘Always be polite to each other’, ‘Balls are for the outdoors only’.

We make our house rules to suit the smooth running of our own family unit, so they may vary from family to family. Needless to say, small rewards (other than food, sweets and money) need to be given to incentivise your children to keep to the rules, but do remember to keep the rewards varied and very affordable. As the new habits are established, start easing off the rewards replacing them with more praise. Children love positive attention and are therefore more likely to repeat the behaviour for which they are praised.

All these strategies require a lot of personal effort on the parent’s side but it is well worth the investment. By creating a safe positive home environment that is predictable and stable, your children will find home life comforting, nurturing and stabilising to the extent that a solid foundation of safety has been created at home. In this way our children are being equipped to deal with anything that life throws at them, outside the home. They have a home that is safe and predictable providing a safe secure haven in which they can flourish and recover from the day’s ills. Naturally when children feel valued, listened to and praised for when they do well and loved unconditionally, they will also learn there are sensible repercussions for when they misbehave. They therefore grow up with confidence, self-esteem as well as a sense of personal responsibility for any actions they take. Anxiety has little room in their lives when they grow up safely and securely with a ‘Can Do’ attitude.

Sometimes, despite putting these very effective measures in place, a few children may still present with some anxiety concerns. We now need to look at the fact that children learn by copying. They so easily copy the behaviour of those around them.  Be mindful of members in the family that are presenting with anxiety concerns, in which case it is important that the adult or family member is treated for their anxiety as indeed is the anxious child.

The preferred treatment, Bach flower therapy, which is a natural treatment, free of side effects, is totally safe for babies to take and does not interfere with any other medication, is highly effective yet gentle. There are thirty eight plant based Bach flower remedies (one for every possible emotion that needs balancing). Mimulus is likely to be the remedy of choice here to balance general known fears and anxiety. (However other emotions could be involved that require balancing. Advice can be given on request}.

Mimulus is taken over a 3 week period in drinks or directly to the mouth via a pipette as droplets. If the emotion has been longstanding then the remedy may need to be repeated two or three times with the understanding that the fears and anxiety will progressively diminish. For more information read Preparing your Bach Flower Remedies and Bach Flower Remedies

Bach flower remedies are one of nature’s greatest stress busters and I would strongly recommend these remedies find their way into everyone’s medicine cabinet. Each 30 ml stock bottle contains 80 drops and as only 2 drops are needed to take you through a 3 week treatment, each stock bottle is a very economical form of treatment. Despite ‘use by dates’ the stock bottles remain robust to the last drop for however long. Licensing laws require ‘use by dates’ so never throw out your stock bottles of Bach Flower remedies.

For advice on how to chunk down the above strategies into a meaningful do-able plan feel free to discuss how this can be done to ensure your child’s life chances to maximise life opportunities are put in place.

Beauty, Health and Life… Sustained and Nurtured by Words and Thoughts

Dr Masuru Emoto (A scientist), is known for discovering how water responds to the spoken, sung and written word. If the words are positive the frozen water will form symmetrically shaped crystals that look quite spectacular. As you might expect he found that if the water was exposed to negative words, the frozen water will form ugly shapes and if a crystal shape did appear, it was inclined to be very small and asymmetrical. As our bodies are 70% water it is easy to correlate the crystal phenomena to how we function when exposed to negative or positive messages.

Further tests using cooked rice created interesting results. One jar of rice was totally ignored, another was called ‘you fool’ and the third jar of rice was told ‘ I thank you’ On repeating these same interactions regularly each day, the jar of rice that had been ignored turned black, the jar of rice that was called ‘you fool’ turned brown whilst the jar of rice that was told ‘I thank you’ started to turn yellow. This experiment has been repeated my many others with exactly the same results.

Imagine what we are doing to ourselves if we use lots of self talk that is negative. Most of the time we are unaware of our thoughts as we tend to flow on automatic. Deepak Chopra, a qualified doctor and author of the metaphysical, a specialist in the field of alternative medicine, states that we have approximately 90,000 thoughts a day. Over 70.000 of these thoughts are the same thoughts we had yesterday, as we are having today and will have tomorrow. So, it is important that we start to increase our awareness about what we are thinking and what we are feeling if we are to maintain optimum health.

So, if we catch ourselves thinking something negative, stop it immediately with a positive image of something that makes you go soft at the knees,. For some it might be thoughts of soft fluffy kittens, for others a cute small, nephew, niece or baby. Maybe an exotic holiday scene or a favoured video clip does it for you. Whatever it is, place this image firmly in your mind. It will negate the negative thoughts, as you can only have one thought in your mind at a time, so ensure it is a positive one. Now make a positive affirmation or statement, so for instance, if you were thinking earlier that you are rubbish at tidying up feeling down by a messy room, tell yourself ‘I am good at clearing up and enjoy it’ Put on some music and dance to it as you get on task. Treat yourself for completing the task, making sure you associate positive actions with the task and turning it into a positive experience. Go to the mirror so you see and hear yourself say ‘Well done, what a fantastic job, the room is so tidy and lovely’.

The positive vibrations and actions will make you feel good and boost your sense of well being and your immune system. This same process can be applied to any situation that might feel initially overwhelming. In fact, use this process in reversing a negative thought you are holding of yourself. Repeat this process regularly and you will begin to believe in your own worth more and more. This will add sparkle to your being, and make you very attractive for others to be with.

We all know instinctively that to obtain the best results from people, we need to be optimistic of their worth and supportive of their efforts, so why would we do anything less for ourselves? Interestingly our culture has us place our energies in others but not in ourselves. This is a form of conditioning from which we need to break free. Promise yourself today that you will be realistically positive about your own worth, that you will support yourself well when you are less than perfect, using language that is positive, appreciative and encouraging. Now just watch your life take off as you grow into the person you were always meant to be and let every droplet of your being crystallize into something quite amazing.

To remain positive in any set back take the Bach Flower Remedy ‘Gentian’ . If you are inclined to think and feel everything is pointless – give yourself a fresh outlook with ‘Gorse’ If you find it hard to be positive because you tend to be fearful then take ‘Mimulus’.