Anxiety & Depression in Kids

When your child has anxiety or depression, it's hard to know where to turn for help. Empowering Parents offers guidance for both you and your child, including advice on teen anxiety and depression.

Teen Moodiness: Is It Normal or Is It Depression?

Your teen prefers to sleep till 11:00, is crabby when she wakes up, would rather talk to the dog than you, and isolates herself for hours at a time in her room, glued to her laptop. Is she depressed? Or just being a normal teenager? Read More

Treating Depression in Teens: Getting the Help You Need

Depression is an all-too-common disorder among teenagers, affecting an estimated 10 to 15 percent of teens, or 1 or 2 out of every 10. Once parents have recognized the signs their teen may be depressed and reached out to a pediatrician or counselor for an accurate diagnosis, it’s time to make a plan. Read More

How Is Depression Diagnosed in Teens?

When Rebecca, now a college senior, was 14 years old, she started showing some classic signs and symptoms of depression. Concerned, her mother, Judy, began to seek an accurate, professional diagnosis. Read More

Concerned Your Teen Is Depressed? Watch for These Signs and Symptoms

When she was 14, Rebecca’s grandmother died after six months of terminal illness. At the same time she’d been watching the disease progress, Rebecca started at a new, very large, school. She joined an after-school activity that took up endless hours and proved difficult to leave even after she realized it wasn’t a good fit for her. Her mother, Judy, started to notice something in Rebecca she thought might be depression. Read More

What Causes Depression in Teens?

When Therese Borchard reflects on what caused the depression she’s wrestled with since the fourth grade, the 44-year-old Annapolis resident identifies two main factors: traumatic events that happened in her family, and a genetic predisposition toward depression and emotional sensitivity. Read More

Parental Anxiety? 5 Ways to Relieve the Worry

Sometimes we parents don’t think we are anxious because we are not trembling in our boots.  Often there is no visible sign of how anxious we are.  Yet when we look inside our heads, we notice that we spend a lot of time thinking about our kids—sometimes scary thoughts about things that haven’t even happened. These “awfulizing” thoughts can sound something like this: Read More

Is Your Child Responsible Enough to be Home Alone? Dos and Don'ts for Parents

Many parents are at a loss for what to do with their older children during the summer months – they may get the summer off, but you probably don’t. That leaves a whole chunk of time to fill each day. How do you know if your child is responsible enough to be left home alone? What if you know he isn’t, but he won’t stop begging to be in charge of his own schedule this summer? Read More

Is It ADHD or Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Disorder? 4 Ways to Help Your Child Focus

Is your child forgetful, irresponsible, moody and prone to daydreaming? Does he seem to lack motivation and become easily bored? This behavior could be related to SCT, or "Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Disorder." This new way of looking at certain ADHD-like symptoms in kids has been generating quite a bit of buzz lately in the media and is definitely controversial. Read More

How to Talk to Teens: 3 Ways to Get Your Teen to Listen

You know the drill: you’re trying to talk to your teen about curfew. Or dinner. Or absolutely anything—and they pretend they can’t hear you. They start an argument with you, or give you an eye roll and a "Whatever." Or they turn up their music. They won’t lift their eyes from their screens. They scoff or grunt in your general direction. There’s no eye contact, no acknowledgement, and absolutely no hint of, “Yes, Mom, I understand what you’re saying to me.” Read More

Afraid Your Child Won't Make It in the Real World? How to Help Your Child Transition to Adulthood

Karen hasn’t slept through the night in years—she’s too worried about her son Mason making it through high school. He tried two different schools and now takes online classes, but that's not working, either. Karen has resorted to sitting with him for three hours every night (after coming home from her full-time job) to help him through his homework. She’s given up trying to make him take the ACT or SAT tests for college. Karen’s just focused on one goal—Mason graduating from high school. She’s not sure what will come after that. Read More

How to Keep Calm and Guide Your Child to Better Behavior This Year

Have you been looking back on the last year, reflecting on how things went with your child? If so, perhaps you feel frustrated when you think about his or her behavior—and your reaction to it. Maybe you feel like no matter what you do, nothing changes. But understand that positive change can happen in your family. You’re not stuck in those negative patterns—you really do have the power to improve things, starting today. Read More

"I Hate School!" What Can I Do When My Child Refuses to Go to School?

If you’re like most parents, you probably take the responsibility of getting your kids to school very seriously and get angry and frustrated when they refuse to go. This can easily turn into a power struggle if you feel this is a “battle” you have to “win.” It’s all too easy to react to your own anxiety and emotions about the situation rather than acting in a well-planned, effective way that will get you (and your child) where they want to be. Read More

How to Prepare Your Child with Special Needs for the Back to School Transition

My son was the “bad kid” in class, which stacked up negatives against him. The teachers watched for his behaviors and quickly got on his case, even if everyone else was engaged in the same activity. As a result, he had to spend a lot of his limited energy for school on reducing the teachers’ stress about having him in their class.

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Out of Control Child: Stopping the Family Anxiety Cycle

Does your child's behavior make you feel out of control? Do you find yourself walking on eggshells so that you don’t “set him off?” It might be your five year old who has tantrums and acts out, or perhaps it’s your teenager who fights with you all the time. Your consequences mean nothing to him, and in fact seem to make him more defiant. Whatever the reason, you've got the kid who simply doesn't react to parenting the way you thought he would. Debbie Pincus, creator of the Calm Parent: AM & PM, explains how you can change the way your family interacts. Read More

Anxious Kids: Are You Dealing with an Insecure Teen?

“I’m ugly.” “Everyone hates me.” “I’m going to fail—I’m too stupid to pass this test.” Why are teens and pre–teens often insecure, anxious and over–sensitive? Adolescence is a risky, dangerous time of life. Your child is attempting to figure out who he is, how he wants to be in the world and how others perceive him. In some ways, the teen years are like the terrible twos, only the stakes are much higher, because your child’s job is to form his identity and separate from you. It’s also a time when parents often go from having a special, positive bond with their child to a phase where your kid wants to push you away. At the same time, he’s also pulling you in for reassurance. It’s as if your child is saying, “I love you, I hate you; I need your help, you’re embarrassing me; stay close, but I don’t want you to walk next to me on the street.” For all these reasons and more, adolescence is an anxiety–provoking, tumultuous time, both for your child and for you. Read More

Does Your Teen Have a Negative Self-image? Real Tips for Parents

When kids hit the pre–teen years, insecurities begin to creep in. Many adolescents start to worry that they’re not popular, good–looking or smart enough. In fact, it’s common for even the most self–assured teen to be down at times. In this frank conversation with Josh Shipp, he explains how you can help your child avoid the pitfalls of negativity. Read More

Self-esteem and Anxiety in Teens: Plus 5 Ways to Start Real Conversations with Your Teen

Does your teen have low self-esteem? Maybe he has a lousy self image, or anxiety about fitting in at school or with peers. This week in EP, read about these difficult adolescent issues from Josh Shipp, someone who’s been there and knows what he’s talking about. Read More

Is Your Child Depressed? 6 Ways to Help Them Cope Kids and Depression Part II

In Part II of James Lehman, MSW’s series on episodic childhood depression, he’ll discuss concrete ways you can teach your child coping skills. If your child seems distressed, despondent or sad for a prolonged period of time, have them seen by someone with diagnostic skills. Be sure to have a pediatrician rule out any underlying issues that might be causing depression. Read More

When Your Child’s World Collapses: Kids & Depression Part I

Part one of a two part series by James Lehman, MSW, on kids and episodic depression. Note from James: In our culture, sadness and depression have become almost interchangeable terms. In this article, we’re going to use the term “episodic depression” when referring to a level of sadness that children experience that interferes with their functioning. Read More

Freaked Out Part II: How to Help Kids Manage Their Anxiety

This is part two of a two-part series on anxiety in children by James Lehman, MSW. In the first article, James discussed how to understand and identify anxiety in children. In this second and last article, he will give you some concrete advice on how to help children solve the problem of anxiety by managing it successfully. Read More