Ohana Matters: Anxiety in children

Ohana Matters: Anxiety in children
Updated: Sep. 20, 2018 at 10:20 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The kids have been back at school for about a month now, and in a lot of families, that means homework struggles. For lots of kids, back to school often means back to anxious feelings over homework and other school matters.

So, what is anxiety exactly?

It's a combination of excessive worry, usually about something that hasn't happened yet. It also usually involves recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns and physical symptoms. If your child or teenager has any or all of these symptoms, especially about school-related matters, then yes, you can conclude he or she has anxiety.

What's a parent to do, especially when it comes to homework anxiety?

Each family should do a cost-benefit analysis of homework. Is that math worksheet worth the 2 hour meltdown? Probably not because he's not really learning anything anyway. So, work with your child's teacher to see if there's another way for your child to absorb the necessary information. You may also want to try some physical exercise or even mindfulness exercises before you sit down. Have you child tell you about his recurring thoughts and see if you can reframe them into more realistic and helpful thoughts about homework. Finally, make homework time, "family work time."  Do your bills or whatever while he does his homework, so he can see that we all work from home from time to time. Perhaps that will ease some of the pressure.

Point of fact—some research indicates the average American teenager has the same level of anxiety as psychiatric patients in the 1950's—it has risen dramatically.

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