Noyau Wellness Center

 

More than First Day Jitters

Tools for parents with anxious children

By Charity Hagains MA, LPCS

 

The first few days of school are now behind us.  The school supplies have been opened, the new clothes have been worn, and the morning photoshoots have given way to rushing out the door on time.  As the routine begins to set in, many children begin to relax and ease into their new roles. They may feel a sense of peace at having the boundaries of the day restored and renewed purpose for school achievement.  However, some children may feel the opposite during these first few weeks.

 

While the anxiety of starting a new year can often hit children on or before the first day, there are still many children who experience those feelings days or even weeks into the new year.  Often the first few days are a bit chaotic as they learn where to go and what is expected of them. Knowing this, teachers go out of their way to make the first few days fun. Anticipating social anxieties, educators are trained to break the ice in their classroom and lighten the mood as they build rapport with their students.  Sometimes that’s enough to help children through those nerves, but sometimes it falls short.

 

If your kiddo is experiencing some of those second week anxieties, here are a few helpful tips to reassure and support them through this complicated time:

 

    • Ask.  Casually asking “Overall how do you feel about the ___ grade?”  “What is math class like?” “How does lunch work? Who do you sit with?”  This lets them know you are curious about their day, and opens the door for them to share their struggles.  
    • Validate.  Letting your child know you hear their frustrations and aren’t judging them, is vital to having an open and trusting relationship.  It is important not to make suggestions, tell them they are wrong, disagree with their feelings, or try to redirect them during this.  As an adult, you may find this situation to be silly or the worry to be baseless, but your child does not. It is real and painful for them and your job is to be present in that pain with them, not change it for them.  “That sounds really hard.” “I can only imagine what that was like for you,” or even a silent hug does more for your child than any piece of advice ever could.

 

  • Wait.  Before you put your problem solving super skills into action, wait for your child to ask for help.  Saying “I remember 5th grade was a hard year for me, so many changes seemed to happen that year.” “I have had disloyal friends and it was one of the hardest moments I can recall.”  “Ugh, mean teachers can be the worst!” Unconsciously you are telling your child that you know what it is like to experience this, and you have gotten through it. This knowledge gives them reassurance they can ask you how you dealt with situations, and gives them the control to hear your sage advice when they are ready to receive it.

 

 

Having survived to adulthood we know these concerns eventually pass, but at this moment your child is just learning that life lesson.  It may cause you a great deal of anxiety and hurt to hear your child struggle through the same pains we all did. For that reason, seeking your own support system can be so helpful as a parent.  Hit up other parents, your own family, or reach out to a professional to get the much needed and deserved support as you tranche through these difficult times with your child.

 

If your child’s distress does not dissipate in a couple of weeks, seek outside help.  At Noyau Wellness Center we specialize in child and adolescent counseling because we know these early years are so developmentally important.  How your child learns to experience difficult emotions plays a huge role in their coming adulthood. It’s a special, but complicated time in a person’s life and we strive to be a cornerstone for those growing minds.  

Holiday Survival Kit!

The holiday season is definitely in full swing and people are hustling and bustling trying to get everything done! One of our counselors, Brittany Strauss has put together some of the toxic thoughts people have–especially during the holidays, that do NOTHING for your holiday spirit! Read More

#MeToo It’s about TIME

#METOO
It’s about TIME
By Charity Hagains MA, LPC-S

Time Magazine names Silence Breakers behind the #MeToo campaign as our “person of the year” and at Noyau we feel that is really is about time.

Our nation has been gripped by the recent #MeToo campaign and the long overdue acknowledgment of an epidemic more widespread than many can understand. As women from around the country, and the world, speak out about the pain and trauma they have survived due to sexual assault and harassment, many more are left with unexpected emotions.

For some there is a feeling of dissonance at the realization that they too are among the women who have been victimized. Perhaps until this moment, they had not considered themselves victims. However, through this campaign the awareness of what consent really means, and what is or is not appropriate behavior has been amplified. This may be the first instance that you look back on uncomfortable memories and say to yourself, “That was wrong, and I am not responsible for it happening.” It’s an empowering realization, but it can also be a painful one.

Others may be struck by the unexpected reliving of a trauma in which they believed they had moved on. Reimagining an assault or a moment when you felt powerless can be shocking. It’s tempting to push those memories and emotions aside to protect yourself from hurt. It may feel easier to block out that pain temporarily, but unfortunately, that hurt is still there and usually comes back full force in the most unexpected ways and the most inconvenient times.

Perhaps you are not a direct victim of a predator, but care for someone who has suffered through an assault or harassment. As a parent, friend, sibling or child of a survivor, you too may be going through unexpected pain during these times. Feelings of fear, anger, compassion, and empathy take their toll on you as well as your loved one. I’ve heard people say that they “don’t feel right” about being upset by the news because it didn’t happen to them, it was someone else who suffered. Your emotions are valid ones, and while you may not have experienced the trauma that your loved one did, you are experiencing your own pain now. It’s okay to talk about that and in doing so you may find that you open a conversation of healing not only for you, but for your loved one as well.

Beyond even those groups, we find that as a country, we are in pain. A nation dealing with confusion, fear, rage, and dissonance. Each day our airways are filled with horrific stories involving people of power, people we had placed our faith in, betraying that covenant. We see leaders who have abused their position, CEOs who preyed on their employees, and local officials who destroyed the trust that was afforded them, among others. Adding to that, we scroll social media and see memes, being shared by people we thought highly of, that mock victims. Family members make comments on consent or harassment that cause us to turn away from them and diminish the respect we once had. Again, we grieve, we rage, we cry…we feel.

It’s a lot to go though, and yet each day we wake up and face it anew. That’s all we can do. We must continue to rise each day and challenge the culture that has caused these atrocities to go unchecked for so long. Healing begins when we open ourselves up to those around us whom we know we can trust and share our pain. Talking about these painful moments in our past, the current hurt we are experiencing, and the shared confusion and anger we have is the strongest and most powerful way though this.

If you find yourself in a situation where you aren’t yet comfortable talking with those in your personal life, or if your experience is too overwhelming to process, trained experienced counselors are a great place to begin your journey of healing. The counselors at Noayu are here for you at whatever stage of the journey you are on, and we are honored to walk that path with you.

Call Noyau Today