"The fear children have with unpredictable weather is common and can be a normal developmental stage as children begin to understand the world."
It’s that time in the Midwest for unpredictable weather!
Storms can be intense, so it’s not surprising that children can become frightened by them. Thunder, lightning and dark clouds can be scary. The fear children have with unpredictable weather is common and can be a normal developmental stage as children begin to understand the world. The fear of storms will change as the child ages: toddlers fear the pounding sound of thunder, preschoolers fear lightning, and, as a child grows older, their fears become more realistic, such as fearing severe weather may put them in danger.
What You Can Do
If the fear continues despite your attempts and/or it gets worse, consider seeking help from a child therapist.
Lori Cull-Deshmukh, LMSW, CPT
Too often, we wish we would have done something but didn’t make the time. Now is your chance to truly have a rewarding summer, full of purpose and accomplishment.
It’s that time of year again! The weather is warming up, school is winding down, and teens are excitedly awaiting their summer. For many teens, summer plans include sleeping in, going to the pool with friends, less responsibilities, and less stress. Although this can be a great time to relax and recuperate from an overwhelming school year, the decreased structure and social connection can bring a variety of unwanted feelings. Many teens face a real challenge in the summer, especially for those experiencing depression.
Too much free time: When a teen doesn’t have the external expectations and structure that school provides, they have all that time to THINK. For those with depressive symptoms, their negative thoughts lead to distorted beliefs that they “don’t have a purpose”. These thoughts can lead to feelings of guilt, frustration, shame, and anger. School provides teens a sense of purpose and opportunity to feel accomplished on a daily basis.
Isolation: With all this free time, teens are more likely to isolate from family and friends. They get in a habit of watching tv, being alone, and closing themselves off from social activities. It’s often easier, and safer, in their minds to be alone. Although the school setting can create conflict and stress with peers, it also provides them the opportunity to check their negative thoughts with reality and make healthy comparisons with their peers.
Lack of stimulation: We all know that the school year can be overstimulating for many teens, especially those with anxiety and depression. The benefit to these social engagements is that it allows their attention and focus to be distracted from their negative thoughts and feelings. They may not always enjoy being stimulated in a classroom but can create healthy stimulation for themselves in the summer.
Structure and social connection are extremely important to continue throughout the summer to combat this. There are many ways that teens can continue to implement what school provides in a healthy and desirable way.
If you need help creating structure or want to focus on combating those negative thoughts during your downtime, I encourage you to reach out. Summer is a great time to work through your anxiety or depression and learn new skills to support you now and in the next school year.
Allison Kidd, LSCSW, LMAC
You are your child’s first teacher and during the early years teaching occurs through play. Playtime interactions with parents give children opportunities to problem solve, process and manage difficult emotions, learn social skills like sharing and taking turns, and practice decision making. These are skills children learn best by practice and repetition in the presence of warm and engaged caregivers.
Play also offers parents the opportunity to fully engage with their child and build their relationship. A strong parent-child bond gives children the foundation on which to build healthy relationships with others including their siblings, friends, teachers and eventually other adults. Through playing with parents children learn to explore, laugh and express themselves. They learn the rules of what’s acceptable and what’s not. They learn how to function in their family and in their world.
Today’s families are busier than ever and often feel stressed and hurried. Meaningful connection can take place between parent and child in as little as five minutes of playtime together. Often when children are not feeling connected with their parent they begin to display attention-seeking behaviors in order to regain their parent’s attention. These behaviors could be tantrums, throwing or breaking a toy or hitting a sibling. A few minutes of play time with a child can be a way to “hit the reset button” by allowing a parent and child to connect in a positive way. This is often all it takes to shift a child’s behavior towards more positive interactions. Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) focuses on using this play time intentionally to promote skill development, enhance relationships and reduce problematic behaviors. This is accomplished by the therapist live coaching the parent-child dyad while playing and using the PCIT skills.
PCIT requires that parents complete Special Play Time daily at home. Kids and parents both begin to count on this daily time of connection and fun. And this has lifelong benefits for both.
Julie Gettings, LSCSW
Resolve Counseling & Wellness
Prairie Village, KS