web analytics
December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Paralyzing Fear

Schonfeld-logo1

The kind of fear that clings to your throat

And squeezes it tight

Leaving you with only enough breath to stay alive

The kind of fear that steals your voice

Leaves you silent without a choice

But to be quiet, not make a noise

You’ll be inactive

You won’t participate

Your lifeless life you’ll hate

Because of fear

You cannot move

You’re over-thinking

Your head is thumping

You’re so afraid to fall

You don’t move at all

You’re nervous, you’re anxious

You’re dizzy, you’re clumsy

You can’t think straight

Yourself you’ll hate

Because of paralyzing fear

Your life is taking you nowhere

– Latisha Barker

Anyone who has experienced a panic attack is familiar with the feelings expressed above – paralyzing fear, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and nerves. But, while panic attacks are real and extreme, everyone experiences some sort of anxiety on a daily basis. The question is: how much is too much?

As your child grows and learns more about the world, it is natural for him to be hesitant or fearful of new circumstances. In some ways, it is good if your child is afraid – it will make him more cautious and careful. He will take fewer risks that could be potentially dangerous. However, too much anxiety can be debilitating and detrimental.

Because different fears are appropriate at different ages, a great way to assess the level of your child’s anxiety is to be aware of the stages:

 

Preschool

Separation anxiety, or a child’s difficulty in being apart from his parents, is not only typical, but developmentally normal for children in preschool. However, it is generally a transient experience and most children can be easily distracted from their anxiety.

 

Fear of the dark is natural once your child hits the age of two or three. Using night-lights or glow in the dark stars to brighten the room should help your child overcome this fear. If your child refuses to go to sleep or wakes in terror because of the dark, this might be a sign of a larger issue.

 

Kindergarten – Fifth Grade

Generalized anxiety can sometimes manifest itself in children during the intermediate ages of 9 and 12. A child who worries excessively and obsessively about school performance, the state of the world, his health, and the health of his family members could be exhibiting signs of generalized anxiety disorder. Pay attention to whether his anxiety is controlling him or he is controlling it.

 

Sixth Grade – High School

Social Phobia is an anxiety disorder that can emerge when children enter their teenage years. Often, children with social phobias will withdraw from social situations and refuse to participate in extracurricular activities.  Sometimes, they will refuse to go to school and will only choose to speak to their parents or siblings. They may get very real headaches, stomachaches, or diarrhea on school days – but the pain comes from their brains, not their bowels.

 

All Ages

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD involves anxiety and stress about traumatic events in one’s past. This disorder frequently occurs after violent personal assaults, such as mugging, domestic violence, terrorism, natural disasters, or accidents. Children who experienced an extremely disturbing event might subsequently develop generalized anxiety. PTSD is often triggered by sounds, smells, or sights that remind the sufferer of the trauma.

 

Some symptoms of include:

  • Anger and irritability
  • Guilt, shame, or self-blame
  • Substance abuse
  • Depression and hopelessness
  • Feeling alienated and alone
  • Feelings of mistrust and betrayal
  • Headaches, stomach problems, chest pain

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The New York Times defines obsessive-compulsive disorder as “an anxiety disorder in which people have thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions).”

Some examples of OCD are excessive hand-washing to ward off infection or repeatedly checking the locks on the door to ensure that they are secured. Children with OCD often recognize that their behavior is excessive, but cannot stop themselves from their compulsive actions.

 

The Link Between Anxiety and Depression

There is a connection between childhood anxiety and teenage depression. Many doctors say that prior to puberty, the equivalent of depression in children is anxiety. The same biochemical issues that children who experience childhood depression deal with are mostly like to lead to depression once they enter puberty.

As a matter of fact, children who have anxiety are more likely to have teen depression.  About half of depressed teenagers had a childhood anxiety disorder and of those teens who suffer from anxiety disorders and depression, 85% of them had their anxiety disorder first.

 

Parents: Be Part of the Solution

Marianna Csoti, in her book, School Phobia, Panic Attacks, and Anxiety in Children, outlines the different ways that parents can help their children overcome anxiety:

  • Do not speak about the anxiety in front of your children. Parents should avoid discussing their child’s worries in front of him. Hearing about his own problems can often cause more anxiety and result in his seeing the problems as larger than they are.
  • Do not introduce your own worries. Parents should try to remove any unnecessary pressure from the child, as he needs to be protected from stress.
  • Reassure your child. Your child should be told that his fears will not always be with him and that he will eventually feel better.
  • Listen to your child’s anxieties. Allow your child to express his fears even if they seem silly to you. This does not mean that you have to “give in” to his every whim; rather you are showing him that you are aware of his suffering.
  • Create a gentle start to the day. If your child struggles with going to school, wake him early in a gentle manner (with music or cuddles) allowing him time to adjust to the reality of going to school.
  • Stick to regular routines. Even though the summers and vacations have their own schedules, sticking to the same bedtime and morning wake-up throughout the summer and school year will allow your child to feel more secure.
    · Seek a professional opinion. Anxiety is a serious issue that cannot always be solved by a caring and capable parent. If you feel that your child’s anxiety is affecting you and your family, seek a professional opinion.

About the Author: An acclaimed educator and education consultant, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation,, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@verizon.net. Visit her on the web at rifkaschonfeldsos.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Paralyzing Fear”

  1. James Johnston Ferguson says:

    I myself suffer panic attacks ! this is very helpful to understanding my past !

  2. It's tough to manage fears and anxiety when you've been given good reasons to carry them. Even if a child doesn't show signs of anxiety, I'd bet money they still carry a good amount of fears, some warranted and some not. If I had kids, I would definitely follow the author's tips to help manage any fears a child may face, even if they haven't been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

    Laughter's one of the few things that gets me out of the hole.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Moshe Kachlon (L) and Avigdor Liberman (R)
Liberman’s Secret Plan to be Crowned Prime Minister
Latest Sections Stories
Games-121914

Here are examples of games that need to be played by more than one person and an added bonus: they’re all Shabbos-friendly.

South-Florida-logo

The incident was completely unforeseeable. The only term to describe the set of circumstances surrounding it is “freak occurrence.”

South-Florida-logo

The first Chabad Center in Broward County, Chabad of South Broward, now runs nearly fifty programs and agencies. T

The NHS was also honored to have Bob Diener as keynote speaker.

Written with flowing language and engaging style, Attar weaves a spell that combines mystery, humor, adventure and Kabbalah in the most magical place in the world, the Old City of erusalem.

There are those who highlight the diversity of these different teachings, seeing each rebbe as teaching a separate path.

Rav Dynovisz will be speaking in Hebrew on Wednesday, January 7, at 7:30 p.m.

Rabbi Simeon Schreiber, senior chaplain at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, saw a small room in the hospital that was dark and dismal but could be used for Sabbath guests.

“The secret to a good donut is using quality ingredients and the ability to be patient and give them time to proof.”

I so desperately want to have a loving relationship with my stepsons.

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of American Independence.

Because you can’t have kids pouring huge jugs of oil into tiny glasses, unless you want to turn your house into an environmental disaster.

Try these with your kids; there’s something for every age group and once all the recipes are made, dinner will be ready!

You children will build the country and you will help restore Israel to her former glory.

More Articles from Rifka Schonfeld
Schonfeld-logo1

Children develop at different rates – they say their first words, take their first steps, toilet train, read their first word, and lose their first tooth at different times.

Schonfeld-112814

Once you understand why you are lying, you might be better able to tell the truth.

This core idea of memory is very difficult to fully comprehend; however, it is essential.

Do you love your children? Of course, who doesn’t? Maybe I should rephrase the question: Do your children feel that you love them?

“Without a high school diploma, you couldn’t work as a garbage collector in New York City; you couldn’t join the Air Force. Yet a quarter of our kids still walked out of high school and never came back.”
– Amanda Ridley

Avromi often put other people’s interests before his own: he would not defend people whom he believed were guilty (even if they were willing to pay him a lot of money).

Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.

Brown argues that this wholehearted living must extend into our parenting.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/paralyzing-fear/2014/02/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: