"Today on the show life gets corey. Turner and Anya Chemnitz. Give us tips for dealing with anxious. Kids I want you to meet a little boy from Central Ellen Oi at five he loves to draw and wear capes and play with the Wooden Sword that his dad made by eight or nine he also has this constant pit of the stomach. Feeling that something's about to go wrong. He's scared of storms and high places when he flies on an airplane he can clearly feel it breaking in half and imagine what it would be like to get sucked out most most of the time. Nobody else can see all of this worry and he doesn't talk about it because it's either normal. Nobody talks about it or it's not normal. That's super embarrassing. Finally after forty years he describes his fear to someone else a doctor. The WHO very quickly gives a name this shadow. He's been living with all his life anxiety. And this is a hard story for me to share on on you because it's my story. This is me and I'm sharing it because it's also a lot of other kids stories right now and this episode. This is all about how we grownups can help them. So they don't have to live quite so long in the shadows. Thank you for Sharing Cory. Thanks for listening hard. I know I know but I really respect it because you know childhood is a growing issue right now. It's one of the most important mental health issues. He's out there. Researchers have found that one in five kids will experience anxiety that rises to a clinical level before Leci- now most of that experts say won't last no but some will without help where we going so we are going to Dr Danny Pines on campus It's in building fifteen at the National Institutes of health north of Washington. DC and. I'm here because in my research on childhood anxiety nearly everyone. I've spoken with has asked me the same question. Danny Pine people I really respect told me they really respect a guy named Danny Pine. Anytime would be a great person to talk to you about that. Dr Danny Pine Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the National Institute Institute of Mental Health. And he's one of the world's top anxiety researchers will so the main thing to know about anxiety is that it involves some level of perception about danger so when somebody's anxious or afraid they're concerned about harm harm. That hasn't happened yet and that's takeaway number one. Anxiety is fundamentally a fear of the future and all of its unpredictability. We're all born with some anxiety because we need it. Young children are naturally afraid of strangers. That's an adaptive thing they're afraid of separation. That's an adaptive thing. These fears have have stuck because they've helped keep us safe but full blown anxiety happens when these hardwired fears get amplified. It's somebody turn up the volume volume and they last longer than us most when it goes into the one to two month range. That's that's where parents should really start Thinking about it worrying about it. Danny suggests your child's pediatrician is a great place to start we. We should also say corey that our understanding of why anxiety affects some kids but others has really changed and parents reach out to us and we heard this question. Can I passing anxiety the onto my kids. The answer is yes it is somewhat genetic but we also know that stressors in a child environment are also really influential triggers. There's like poverty bullying violence in the neighborhood. Racism or factors even closer to home like abuse or apparent addiction. All all of these can increase a child's risk of anxiety. Now take away number to look for the signs of anxiety. We spoke doc with a colleague of Danny's Dr Crystal Lewis. She's also a clinical researcher at NIH who provides therapy too anxious kids we just look at the level of interference appearance for the symptoms We look at yes avoidance behaviors. But are there things that child really wants to do or needs to be doing and they can't do those things and so if you feel you're you're hitting a wall in terms of trying to get the child to do those things that might be another Indicator that You know we should get some help so Rachel Imam in Belgrade. Montana says her six year old son is avoiding something that for. Many children is their favourite part of the school day. He doesn't like recess he just started kindergarten. Mom Mom I love school. I don't like recess so unstructured time seems to be the worst and it's not just recess. We have like a super cool splash park in our little town and he refuses and I'm not going to drag him. I'M NOT GONNA draw a crying kid out and stick him in the water like that's not fun. We heard this kind of thing from so many parents corey. I mean. My child is terrified to do something that I know is not gonNA hurt him that. I think that he might actually love what I do. So we're going to go step by step now through some strategies adages that we hope will help. All of you grown-ups out there and your children takeaway number three before you do anything else says Rosemary truly of sesame workshop tried tried to help your child relax. You're not going to be able to move forward until you get them to calm down and I think that is just so important. Know what you can do physically only to reset their system so that you can then have a conversation okay. So in that heightened moment how do you break through. It's so important to learn these belly leave breathing techniques because that deep belly breathing. Cleansing breaths is a re centering of your physical Michael System on. You feel like every episode we do we end up circling back to that episode. We did a while ago with cookie. Monster Alma God. How can I forget the the power of belly breathing? Pretty good tried again okay. So let's see you managed to calm your child down what's next takeaway number four. You need to validate date. Your child's fear. We heard from lots of parents who say they really struggled to know how to respond when their kids worry about really unlikely things especially if their fears getting in the way of busy daily routine or maybe a fun. Family Outing Dr Chris. Lewis offered some suggestions. She gives to grownups. Who in the moment? If you'll stymie by what seems like a child's irrational fears. I know that you're feeling uncomfortable right now. I know these are scary feelings. You want to personify personify the anxiety and so you can almost say you know we know that this is our worry brain and so using the language so the kids understand okay. Mom knows dad knows that I'm feeling uncomfortable right now. I'm feeling anxious. I have to admit on your actually use the worry brain line on my kids the other day I said Oh sorry guys thousand my worry brain I love it I love it. Yeah and here's another. Don't from Rose Marie if your child's afraid of something say like a tornado or a car crash believe in. Don't just tell them. Oh that's never gonNA GONNA happen so no matter. How rational you think the fear is? You need to validate it and make sure your child feels heard. Quite this makes me think of that. Mom We heard from earlier Rachel all the one whose son was terrified of splash park. I mean is it ever okay to just make your child do what they fear. This prince suspected Dr Danny Pine Takeaway number five one of the things that we've learned from watching kids over time and helping kids who are having problems with anxiety diety is that we've learned how important it is to face your fears. Okay so this is a tough assignment for some parents because they know just how stressful it can be for their kids to do something. That's new that they're worried about but we heard the same thing from every single expert. So here's Dr Louis. The more that you avoid or don't do certain things things. It's almost implicitly teaching the child that there is a reason to be anxious or afraid. So it's important that children understand you know things are going to be difficult in in life. Things are going to be scary. We can do them as I say and I tell some of my patients you can feel scared. That's okay we're going to do it anyway. And that sets us up for takeaway number six help your child build a sense of control. This is crystals job helping kids face their fears. It's called cognitive behavioral therapy and a big part heard of that is exposure therapy and she is a big fan of baby steps. Yes Oh she shared the story of one eight year old girl who was so afraid of throwing up that she actually wasn't eating entering flu season. She was too scared to go to school and kiss. Some of the other kids may throw up. Yes so how do you baby step your way through that just a little little warning. We're about to say the word vomit a lot. We did a lot of practice which included Buying vomit spray off Amazon and vomits Lever Jelly beans. We did a a lot of practicing Up to the point where we create they plate against the point seriously. All you need to know corey is did it work. You're slowly but yes she got to the point where she was in school and One of the peers had vomited in the classroom and she comes into session and she was just like someone vomit in my class and I ran to the corner of the classroom and she's just like didn't help but I was there in the classroom which really showed some growth and so she was just very proud of the progress so she was making in the past she would have ran out of the classroom to the counsel's office and then the school fit like the next week. So Dr Lewis says that US parents when our kids kids are making baby steps on this or really anything. That's hard for them. You know you use small meaningful rewards along the way like maybe picking what movie we watch and family movie night or or maybe they get to stay up an extra ten minutes and so little by little with these baby steps. Your child starts building. Her confidence facing facing your fears is important. But kids don't have to do it all at once."