How to Talk to Kids about Breaking Free of Anxiety and OCD with Eli Lebowitz, PhD
Special Guest: Eli Lebowitz, PhD
It’s healthy and normal to become aware of possible threats and dangers around us so that we can be safe and make safe choices- however, in children with anxiety, they get stuck in continually imagining that something bad or dangerous will happen, and it feels just as if the bad thing were happening in real life. They are experiencing the feelings or anxiety as if they are indeed going to happen. They focus on what they truly believe are the negative outcomes that have a large likelihood of occurring and place high value on those negative outcomes—while at the same time, placing very low value and likelihood on positive outcomes that might occur from taking the risk and doing the thing that scares them.
Parenting an anxious child means facing constant challenges and questions: When should parents step in and help their children deal with those fears—or take away the likelihood of those fears by avoiding the thing that scares their child? How can parents foster independence while still supporting their children and acknowledging the anxiety? How can parents reduce the hold their child’s anxiety has on their entire family—and cope with the role they may be inadvertently playing in kowtowing to the anxiety while trying to help their child cope with it? And how do we talk to our children about anxiety- and how we can support them in living with it in a positive way?
For this conversation, I will be talking together with Professor Eli Lebowitz.
Professor Lebowitz studies and treats childhood and adolescent anxiety and is Director of the Program for Anxiety Disorders at the Yale University’s Child Study Center. His research focuses on the development, neurobiology, and treatment of anxiety and related disorders, with special emphasis on cross-generational and familial influences on these disorders. Dr. Lebowitz is the lead investigator on multiple funded research projects, and is the author of numerous research papers, books and chapters on childhood and adolescent anxiety. He is the father of three great boys. Dr. Lebowitz has a new book out called Breaking Free of Child Anxiety and OCD.