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Behavior Makeover: Anxiety

Behavior Makeover Plan
What kind of life have you created for your child? For instance, do you expect him to excel academically, athletically, artistically, or all the above? Do you expect him to have the most playing time on the field? Do you expect him to have the highest scores on standardized tests? Think how much pressure you're putting on your kid. Is it healthy? What can you do to lighten the pressure before it explodes? What will you do? Write a plan.

Now it's time to take action to begin making over your kid's behavior. Use your Makeover Journal to write down your thoughts and develop your plan.

  1. Watch your child a bit closer over the next few days for anxiety. Signs of overload can include a change in sleep patterns, refusal to eat, moodiness, recurring physical ailments, trouble concentrating, restlessness, social withdrawal, nail biting, acting out, aggression, regression to baby-like behavior, nausea, excessive whining, or crying. What signs concern you? List them.

  2. Notice what kinds of situations create the most anxiety for him. For instance, is it school violence in the next community, bullying, an upcoming test, world events? List them.

  3. What can you to reduce his anxiety? For example, if you determine there's a serious physical threat to his safety, should you move him to a different school? If test taking causes stress because she thinks she'll fail, talk to her teacher, hire a tutor, or help her study. Make an action plan, and then act on it.

  4. David Elkind, author of The Hurried Child, says one of the easiest ways to reduce stress is by cutting out just one extra activity. If overscheduling is producing stress, decide with your child which activity you will cut. When will you do it?

  5. Review Step Four, and decide which one you think will work best with your child. Then rehearse and practice the strategy with your child until she can remember to use the technique during a stressful time.

  6. Continue to keep a close watch on your child's stress level. If you don't see change, check with a trained professional.


From No More Misbehavin' by Michele Borba, Ed.D. Copyright © 2003 by Michele Borba. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Buy the book at www.amazon.com.

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