Detecting and Assisting Kids with Anxiety
What: Impact Sumner Parent Enrichment Seminar
When: 5-7pm, Sept. 22
Where: Hendersonville First United Methodist Church
Childcare is provided (indicate that on your free registration)
During this free Impact Sumner seminar we'll look at:
Alison D. Peak LCSW, is the Executive Director for Allied Behavioral Health Solutions.
She received her Master's in Social Work from the University of Michigan with an emphasis in Interpersonal Practice with Children and Youth and Infant Mental Health. Alison is the Co-chair of the AIMHiTN Endorsement Committee and a member of AIMHiTN's Leadership Cohort. Alison also has two post-graduate degrees, Integrated Behavioral Health in Primary Care and Pediatric Integrated Health Services.
Alison is passionate about working with children with histories of early trauma, families with adopted children, and youth in DCS custody. Alison seeks to meet these children and families where they most often present for assistance, their physician's office, and to assist in collaborating with primary care providers to optimize services for children and families.
Allied Behavioral Health Solutions, LLC, is a locally owned organization focusing on collaborating with individuals, families, medical providers, and communities to create better outcomes for all.
HFUMC: What is the first sign that a parent usually sees in their anxious kid?
Alison Peak: Identifying anxiety in your own child can often be really difficult. Children in general tend to display anxiety through physical symptoms and behavior. They may have frequent headaches, stomach issues, pick at scabs, avoid activities that require a lot of peer interaction, or be very focused on getting everything just right.
HFUMC: What are some common misconceptions about anxiety?
Alison Peak: Anxiety is often thought to be related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or that it clearly means that someone is having panic attacks. Some individuals are just more nervous and anxious by personality. Anxiety is our body's way of telling us that there may be danger, eg a lion in the wild. Anxiety becomes problematic when that sense of danger in your brain gets stuck and we become anxious over things that are not truly life threatening, eg a math test.
HFUMC: How can a parent bring relief to their child during an anxious situation or panic attack?
Alison Peak: Managing anxiety is often about co-regulation. Children (and adults!) look to adults to know if they're safe. When caregivers remain calm, help children identify the emotion or even that is occurring, and help coach them through steps to regulate, then children can often learn this process themselves. Helping with deep breathing, talking about a positive memory, or reminding children of their own level of control in a situation can be very helpful.
HFUMC: How important is an understanding community for parents of anxious kids?
Alison Peak: Parenting is hard. Parenting is very hard. We often see pictures on Facebook of the parent of 3 children who are dressed to match eating dinner by 5:30 and wonder about our own role in the success of our children and families. When children have big emotions or are navigating tough stuff, this sense of doubt within a parent can be even greater. Having a supportive community for all families really helps in knowing that families and kids aren't alone.
HFUMC: What are some other topics you are going to discuss at this event?
Alison Peak: Understanding parents' role in co-regulation, identifying and supporting big emotions in children, practical tips for calming down during episodes of anxiety.