Anxiety is an unwanted guest. For some families, anxiety makes a sudden appearance, showing up one day after soccer practice but before dinner, and never leaving. For others, it makes a gradual appearance, like shower scum, creeping in here and there, seeming minor and non-threatening, until you realize it has taken over most of the tub and tiles.

For others, anxiety is an occasional, casual visitor, stopping by on Monday mornings before school, or hanging around at bedtime, but never staying for more than a few hours, despite it’s consistent visits. Regardless of how anxiety entered into your lives, it has become the unwanted houseguest. The purpose of this section is to assist you, the parent, in beginning to recognize where exactly anxiety is hiding out.

  • Does anxiety boss you around, make you engage in elaborate rituals or take extreme steps to prevent upsetting your child, and thus protect the delicate household balance?
  • Has anxiety prevented you and your partner from sleeping together, undisturbed through the night?
  • Are you racing to school pick up, breaking the sound barrier, terrified you might arrive a minute past the bell to find your child in a state of panic?
  • Are you tired, irritable and feeling defeated more days than not?
  • Are meals and bedtime battlegrounds, rife with tears, hurt words and slammed doors?

If you answered, “yes!” to most of these questions, anxiety is clearly in your home and something must be done. No more Mrs./Mr. nice-guy. As you read through these sections, make note of how your child’s anxiety is ruling the roost, and consider implementing some of the step-by-step guidelines provided.