Our guest this week was Allison Edwards, author of Why Smart Kids Worry: And What Parents Can Do to Help. Allison began working with gifted kids 15 years ago as a school counselor. She was responsible for identifying, placing and coordinating resources for gifted students. Allison had to learn very quickly what gifted students needed and how they functioned inside the regular classroom. 8 years ago, she started a private psychotherapy practice where she specializes in working with gifted and anxious kids.
Our first question was to ask why smart kids worry. Allison told us that smart kids worry because their minds take them places they aren’t ready to go emotionally. They have the ability to intellectually understand things they can’t emotionally process thus creating anxiety. The ability to think about advanced topics is an asset inside the classroom but can be a detriment outside of it.
What signs should parents look for if they suspect their child is unduly worried? Parents will want to look for changes in behavior. These include: resistance to participate in previously enjoyed activities, stomachaches, headaches or loss of appetite. Kids who process anxiety outwardly will talk incessantly about their worries and/or ask repetitive questions about fears. Kids who process anxiety inwardly will withdraw, pull away and be resistant to talking about their feelings.
What advice did Allison have for parents to help their children to not worry so much? She would advise parents to acknowledge their child’s feelings and resist the urge to rationalize the anxiety away. When parents try to rationalize with an anxious child, children feel devalued and will become defensive and resistant. The best way to help kids handle anxiety is to teach them anxiety-reduction tools. The tools will empower them to handle anxious moments and learn to self-soothe. A partial transcript may be found here.
Allison Edwards will be speaking at the 2014 TAGT Annual Parent Conference in Fort Worth, Texas on Friday, December 5th at 12:30 PM. You can register for the TAGT Annual Parent Conference here.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: email@example.com
Why Smart Kids Worry: And What Parents Can Do to Help (Amazon) by Allison Edwards
“4 Anxiety-Reduction Tools” for Children from Allison Edwards @CounelingBits (video)
Anxiety Trapper App for iPhone (iTunes App Store)
12 Traits of Anxious Children (free download) from Allison Edwards
Allison Edwards ‘Why Smart Kids Worry’ (YouTube)