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Managing Children’s Anxieties: A New Opportunity for Parents as Coaches The F.O.R.C.E. Society for Kids Mental Health Care.

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Presentation on theme: "Managing Children’s Anxieties: A New Opportunity for Parents as Coaches The F.O.R.C.E. Society for Kids Mental Health Care."— Presentation transcript:

1 Managing Children’s Anxieties: A New Opportunity for Parents as Coaches The F.O.R.C.E. Society for Kids Mental Health Care

2 Think of what you’ve felt like when you’ve had a positive experience … STOP

3 ll What kind of experience do you want your child to have?

4 Truth versus Belief Approx. 9,000 children and youth in BC have an anxiety disorder. Truth Poor parenting is the cause of the disorders. Belief Parents of children ill with a mental disorder are treated with less respect. Truth Parents can help prevent kid’s worries from developing into anxiety disorders. Truth Almost 1 in 10 babies in a hospital nursery will exhibit signs of stress or anxiety. Truth

5 Who We Are… We are parents whose children’s lives are touched by mental disorders When We Learned We Weren’t Alone… January 2000…and every day since Why We Formed a Society… To ensure mental health care and services are provided to children and youth and to assist their families in finding information and support The F.O.R.C.E. History

6 Anxiety is Normal….Everyone has it Approach & avoidance behaviours Safety signals Normal emotional response essential for survival Threat cues Individual differences in the experience of anxiety

7  Rate it on a fear thermometer of 1-5  What are your body clues when you are feeling anxious?  Form circle and exchange papers Group Exercise What is your secret /not so secret fear?

8 Now, imagine… You had learned skills to cope with your fears or worries at age 9!!! Your children can have that chance You can learn how to coach your kids in these skills

9 F Feelings R Remember to Relax I I can do it! I can try my best! E Explore Solutions and Coping Step Plans N Now reward yourself! You’ve done your best! D Don’t forget to practice! S Smile! Stay calm for life!

10 Why “FRIENDS”…… FRIENDS is an acronym for the skills and strategies taught in the program Our body is our friend Be a good friend to ourselves Make new friends Talk to our friends

11 Program Approach  All feelings are normal  What we DO with our feelings is what counts the most

12 FRIENDS in the classroom Offered to all school districts in BC Based on prescribed learning outcomes for grades 4 & 5 in personal planning First time ever offered in the classroom, versus individual or groups outside of class setting Parent component being offered for first time this year

13 I = I can do it! I can try my best! ê Thoughts - feelings - behaviours ê Self talk ê Helpful, powerful, positive, optimistic green thoughts ê Unhelpful, negative, pessimistic red thoughts ê Attention training exercises think like a winner !!

14 The link between thoughts and feelings Unhelpful Red Thoughts = Sad, worried, angry feelings Helpful Green Thoughts = Happy, confident feelings I’ll give it my best shot! I can do it! Second place is a great effort! I will get better! I = I can do it! I can try my best!

15 FLEXIBILITY in THINKING Feelings Unhelpful thoughts Difficult Situation Reactive Behaviours Problem Solving Generate many solutions as a family/school group Helpful thoughts Feelings Proactive Behaviours

16 Changing Unhelpful Red Thoughts page 30 Difficult Situation: Finding someone to play with Behaviours crying seeking reassurance withdrawing annoying others giving up Problem Solving Generate many solutions as a family/school group relief increased confidence empowerment happy Feeling OK Behaviours smiling approaching others courage assertive taking risks having fun Thoughts: no-one likes me I’m going to be alone Everyone thinks I am a geek I’ll have no fun Feelings: fear sadness Helplessness lonely find someone before play time begins Older buddy / mentor bring toy / game to share teacher intervene find ways to initiate play with others Keep chart monitor success I can be a good friend Teacher cares and knows I played the other day I can be happy doing something I enjoy

17 Thought Exercise Provide group with scenario List ‘red’ thoughts that may occur List ‘green’ thoughts that can replace ‘red thoughts’

18 Ways Others Can Help  Encouragers  Just try your best!  You can do it!  You did that really well!  I’m proud of you for trying hard!  You’re doing great, keep practicing!  Encourage children to pay attention to positives  To focus on the positive aspects of every situation. Positive things from within, from others, or from the situation itself.  To expect good things to happen

19 Why Is It Important to Involve Parents? (leader manual p. 107) Encourage more time with their children: Listening to their children’s solutions Discussion of positive consequences Reinforcement of proactive plans Model approach and assertive plans Establish routines, quiet time, adequate sleep time and appropriate diet Monitoring and mentoring supportive friendships

20 Knowing what to do… helping families help their kids

21 Benefits of Parent Training  Become aware of their coping style & cognitive style  Development of stress management strategies  Practice modelling positive brave behaviours  Development of realistic expectations  Enhancement of family teamwork  Learn to help their children think in helpful ways  Awareness of child’s difficulties / fears; “at risk” times  Catch their child being brave, and reinforce them  Help their children/youth form support networks

22 Parent Training in BC Led by The F.O.R.C.E. Society for Kids Mental Health (with funding from MCFD) Offered to 15 school districts across BC – new component for 2005 2 sessions for 2 hours Ideally facilitated by school counselor Collaboration with PAC and Mental Health Team Contact : Donna Keli Anderson:

23 PAC Role To advocate for The FRIENDS program in your school/school district To talk about and ask for presentations on The FRIENDS program at your PAC meeting To co-facilitate the parents’ training with your school counselor and MCFD therapist

24 What makes a difference Talking to other parents Making connections and building relationships in the school and community Having some easy, practical tools to apply Learning to react differently Finding one person in the school who can act as a ‘safe’ person for the child

25 Continuum of Care The skills learned in grades 4 or 5 with the FRIENDS become life skills to be used forever. Parents can also use the skill when they hit a rough patch or situation Just because your child is doing well today, doesn’t mean they don’t need skills for managing stress and anxiety tomorrow.

26 Our Kids, they’re counting on us To act as a community to support and help them To see them through a different “lense”, and think of them beyond their behaviour To help their parents get through the really tough times

27 We need to be WITH and FOR children, not AT them.

28 Resources & Contact Info Some helpful websites:

29 Resources & Contact Info “ Taming the Worry Dragon” Series Includes books, manuals and videotapes 604.875.3549 “Anxiety Disorders in Children and Youth” Special issue of VISIONS (BC’s mental health journal) www.cmha- Self-test for Teens experiencing anxiety problems Self-test for parents of a child experiencing anxiety problems

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