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Tap Away Your Child’s Anxiety

Does your child or children suffer with symptoms of Anxiety?

As a sufferer of anxiety as a young child myself and raising two teenage girls who have also experienced symptoms of Anxiety, I know the pressure this puts on you as a parent and your family as a whole.  Childhood anxiety has two sides to the coin, one side is your stress as a parent in dealing with your child’s anxiety symptoms and behaviour and the other side is supporting your child to cope with the anxious symptoms and feelings.

Recently, I have come to realise that not all parents are able to recognise the signs of anxiety because that has not been their experience growing up or in their adult lived experience.  Luckily for me and my girls because of my exposure to anxiety, I can recognise it in a second and felt called to educate parents on what to look for in their child and of course tips on how to cope with it as well.

Anxiety can come in many forms and the important thing here is to understand the distinction between a child just acting out and one who is suffering from anxiety and their behaviour is completely out of their hands and not something they are doing on purpose.

What can anxiety look like?

Perfectionism – a child needing everything to be perfect and in order
Fear of trying new things – this could be a new activity or simply a new food
Worrying about events in the future
Not wanting you as their parent to leave them
Needing to know what is going to happen and when it is going to happen – who is picking me up from school today?
Fear of Failure – For example: Tests and exams at school
Overthinking is a big sign of anxiety – if you notice your child just can’t stop thinking and worrying and analysing – their big questions will be what if this happens? what if that happens?
Sleeping problems

Now not all anxiety is bad, it is completely natural for your child to feel anxious when they are starting something new, meeting new people etc.  When anxiety becomes a problem is when it starts to affect both your child’s life and is causing you stress as their parent.

Anxiety happens when a part of your child’s brain called the ‘Amygdala’ senses a threat of some kind and sends a signal that your child is in some kind of danger and they need to protect themselves.  This is where the flight, fight or freeze response comes in, they show up in the following ways:

Flight – running away and hiding in the room or not wanting to attend something
Fight – may show up like tantrums or unusual outbursts
Freeze – they may just stop and not be able to move or tell you what is wrong

So, how can you help your child if you have recognised they are suffering from anxiety symptoms?  Following I am going to teach a quick technique so you can both help your child and reduce your stress all at the same time.

  1. Tapping – EFT or Tapping is a stress reduction technique and works to quiet that part of the brain that is sending the signal of danger.  It is a very quick and effective technique that is self-applied using acupressure points on your upper body.

 

 

If you would like to learn more about this wonderful quick and effective technique, I am running a Stress Management Workshop for Parents and one of the modules is on Childhood Anxiety.  Click here to book your spot.

Nicole Ivens | Empath Counsellor

 

Friendships

How To Help Nurture Your Child’s Friendships

How many times have you heard from your child “We are not friends anymore”?

I know for me I have heard that more times than I can count from my two girls and there has been times where I have just said “don’t worry I am sure you will be friends again tomorrow”, majority of the time this works out to be the case but sometimes it can be the start of something bigger.

I am going to start with asking you a question that might be a little difficult, “What happens within you when your child tells you about their friend problems?”  This is a tell tale sign of actually what needs to be dealt with first.  For example if you get a gut wrenching feeling or feel pain in your heart, this is your subconscious reminding you of a similar time when you were younger having trouble with your friends.

I know for me prior to working on my own issues from childhood with EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) I would be triggered every time one of my girls had problems with their friends at school.  If they cried, I would cry, if they were anxious, I would be anxious, but clearly that wasn’t any help to them and what they were experiencing.

Working on yourself first can have a profound affect on your child as well, also putting you in a better space to support them through what they are currently experiencing.  Seeing yourself as Switzerland, a place of neutrality is a great place to operate from when it comes to helping your child.  Neutrality gives you great insight and the space to be objective in any situation that presents itself, both in your own personal experience and experiences with your children that present themselves.

As parents it can be our first reaction to jump to conclusions that may be flawed due to the lack of information we are been provided with, obviously we want to believe everything our child is telling us and that their version of events is the complete truth.  A good thing to remember is each person has their version of events and the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

A process that I find works very well is to sit with your child and ask them to share with you exactly what happened, who said what and then help them to think about why their friend may have said different things and how they may have contributed to the situation.  I find helping your child to gain an understanding and awareness around another persons behaviour is a big step forward in them healing from the experience.

Another great way I find to help my girls is using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) or Tapping to process what they are feeling and release the experience from their energy field, unprocessed feelings and experiences can go on to cause other problems further on in your child’s life.   Check out Episode 1 of Empowering Kids TV to learn more about how you can use EFT with your child.

Supporting your child from home can make all the difference in the interactions they have with their friends and the confidence they portray in themselves and their social interaction skills.  As a Professional Family Counsellor I work with Families to help them to empower, educate and encourage each child to be their true authentic self, building each child’s confidence and social skills is just a small part of that.

If you are noticing your child is struggling with their social skills or friendship issues, reach out and I can support both you and your child to more fruitful friendships.

Childhood Anxiety

The Signs And Symptoms Of Childhood Anxiety

I had an interesting experience this past week, I was attending an awards ceremony for my youngest daughter, Grace aged 13.  As always the ceremony starts with the Principal Address, he usually talks about the achievements of the kids and how proud he is of all they have achieved for Term 1.

However, this time he started out with what he wanted to achieve and that was 93% attendance record, the school was currently sitting at 87%.  In my mind I was thinking for such a big school that is a pretty good record, it was then that he really grabbed my attention, he used a buzz word “Anxiety” and stated it as the main reason for kids not attending school.

My ears did prick up because I had my business brain on, thinking YES I can help support parents and kids with this.  Well I sure didn’t see or expect what was to come next, his solution to a child’s anxiety left me feeling very dismayed.  He made a suggestion to the kids that all they need to do is become more organised and arrive at school early, so then they are not rushing around and will be the first in class, feeling safe and ready for the day.

What do you think about this approach?  Would this work for your child?

Now there are definitely different levels and types of anxiety and I certainly understand what he was saying in regards to how the kids feel when they are running late and rushed to get to class on time.  But is that really in the child’s complete control, I know for my kids, and I will be honest if they are late it is usually my fault.

This experience really got me thinking and wondered how many people are there that really don’t understand anxiety and what role are they playing in our child’s life and how are they contributing to the wellbeing of each of our children.   Now I know for me I recognise anxiety instantly, 1. I have personal experience 2. I am a trained professional and this led me to today’s blog and wanting to share how you can recognise anxiety in your child.

As I mentioned earlier there are different types of Anxiety, for example some of the common types I see with my clients are: Separation Anxiety, Generalised Anxiety and Situational Anxiety.

  • Separation Anxiety is as the name describes and is more common in younger children, but can also be seen in older children as well just depending on what the child has experienced and is currently coping with.
  • Generalised Anxiety is used to describe anxiety that doesn’t pertain to one certain event, experience or time.  You may have described your child as “An anxious child”.
  • Situational Anxiety is used to describe anxiety that pertains to a certain event or experience, such as tests or exams.  I see this in both younger and older children, for example younger children surrounding doctor or dentist visits and older kids exams at school.

Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of anxiety, let’s look at some of the signs and symptoms to look for in your child.

  • Complaining of stomach pains and no other signs of illness
  • Sweaty palms
  • Withdrawn behaviour, not wanting to participate in activities they would of in the past
  • Talking about all the bad things that may happen (classic anxious behaviour)
  • Crying and hiding behind you (specific to younger children with separation anxiety)
  • Not wanting to go to school and no real reason that you can determine
  • Lashing out at their siblings for reasons that in the past may not have bothered them
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Grades at school lowering compared to previous reports

These are just a few of the signs and symptoms that your child may exhibit when they are feeling anxious.  Can you recognise any that you have seen in your child?

I know how distressing it can be dealing with anxiety in your children, I am a mum to two teenage girls who both suffer from anxiety.  Having the tools and strategies you need as a parent can really help to lower this feeling of dis-empowerment and distress and I find an individual approach is best.

If you are needing support and guidance to help with your anxious child, I offer in-house counselling in person and online.  Book your session here.

How To Connect With Your True Authentic Self

Connection is the energy between two people, how you connect with another person has a lot to do with the energy between you.  When your energy levels are different, the connection can be more difficult.  You know the saying “I felt like I have known them my whole life”, this comes from both people being on the same energy wave length and you feel an immediate connection.

Connection

Now that you are aware of what a connection is, how can you apply that to your true authentic self?  A connection been the energy between two people, well in this case it is a connection between the self you are aware of and your higher self.  You know that small quiet inner voice you hear and probably ignore most of the time, that is your higher self guiding you.

Starting to improve your connection with your higher self is going to help you to live your life as your true authentic self, instead of living from external expectations and how you think you should live your life.  From the time as a small child you have been instructed on what to do, how to do it and when to do it, so it is no wonder your connection has waned.

Aren’t you tired of living a life that doesn’t feel authentic to you?  Doing things to please others, only to be left feeling depleted instead of energised.  Operating in connection with your higher self will see you doing things in such a way that serves both you and others, remembering when you say yes to others you are in fact saying no to yourself.

In today’s world of social media it can be hard to shut out all the external noise and connect back in with your true authentic self.  Falling into the comparison trap is very common and I for one have been very guilty of comparing myself to others.  So how do you shut out all this noise and connect in with your higher self, let’s look at a few ways.

3 Ways To Connect With Your True Authentic Self

  1. Meditation – is a wonderful way to shut out the external noise and come back to your center.  Think about it as a time of getting to do nothing, instead of viewing it as just another thing you need to do.  I recommend using the app “insight timer”, it has some beautiful music with a timer.  Start out with just 5 minutes and build it up over time, I currently do 20 mins morning and night.
  2. Journaling – is a great way to hear your voice, without any restrictions, just write.  Let it flow and see what comes.  I shared in an earlier blog “The Art Of Letting Go” steps to journaling if you haven’t done it before.  This is something I recommend to all of my clients for both themselves and their children, depending on the age.  For younger kids getting them to draw how they are feeling works wonders.
  3. Breathing – deep breathing is such a quick, easy and effective way to connect in with your true authentic self.  Breathing calms both feelings in your body and thoughts in your mind, give yourself 3 minutes and you will be feeling refreshed and grounded.

Using the above strategies on a regular basis is going to see you feeling calmer, more relaxed and less likely to take on other peoples opinions or judgements as  your own.

If you are finding it hard to have a connection with your true authentic self, I can help you to work through past experiences that are keeping you from re-awakening your deep connection.

www.nicoleivens.com/workwithnicole

Successful Parent

What Makes a Successful Parent?

Success = The accomplishment of an aim or purpose

If we follow this definition of success then being a successful parent is going to look different for each person as we all have our own purpose.

What is your purpose?

When you thought about becoming a parent, what were the values you thought would be important in your role as a parent and how do they compare to the reality?

In today’s world of social media we can easily fall into the trap of comparison, seeing how other parents are living their lives can give you a feeling of insecurity.  Reminding yourself of your values as a parent can help to bring you back to who you are and what it is you want to achieve as a parent.

As parents we are continually worried that we may not have all the answers and the way we are raising our kids may be causing them damage.  However, what is important to remember is that you have everything you need within you to be a successful parent.

Let’s look at the traits within you that support you in becoming a successful parent:

  1. Be Yourself
  2. Trust Yourself
  3. Use your Intuition
  4. Respect each child’s uniqueness
  5. Gain knowledge

Coming back to who you are and trust in that will allow you to become the best parent you can be.  There is no other person on this earth that can be a better parent to your child, your child chose you as their parent for a reason.

Trust in your abilities and this will reflect in how you raise your child and yourself in the process.  When I look back over my parenting journey of 16 years, I can see how different my children are as they have grown into young ladies but I can also see a vast difference in my own growth and the growth of my husband.

We are all in this together, trust yourself first and then ask for support as you need it.  Together we will raise enlightened children.

Written by Nicole Ivens

Nicole Ivens is an experienced Professional Counsellor  and EFT Coach.

Nicole supports parents to empower, educate and encourage their children to be their true authentic self.

Learn more about Nicole http://www.nicoleivens.com/about

Living with stress

A Guide to Living with Stress

Let’s start with the acronym for Stress:

STRESS = Situations That Release Emergency Signals or Stimuli

Stress is something we all experience in our lives be that us as adults or our children and sometimes our children are the source of our own stress.

So how do you live with stress in your life without allowing it to be detrimental to your health and inner peace?

It really comes down to having a plan in place and go to strategies that you can use in the moment to reduce and cope with your feelings of stress, either big or small.

In times of high stress I have always found the following quote a great reminder of the control I have in each and every situation.

The situations that appear in our life are not always in our control, but how we react to it, now that is where our power lies.  There are always going to be times in your life where everything goes belly up and your response to it is going to be the catalyst to what happens next.

This is especially important when dealing with our children, when they are acting in ways that cause us stress, it is because they are experiencing their own level of stress, so our reaction to it is paramount to again what happens next.

I am sure you are seeing a pattern here:

Situation > Response > What Happens Next

As you can see our response is the middle ground here which is a very important place to be and as such just as important to have the strategies available to you to gauge your response in each situation.

5 Strategies to Living with Stress

  1. Calm Tone of Voice – This is imperative for how you speak to yourself during times of stress and your children.  This will allow you to calm yourself and those around you, aka your children.
  2. Deep Breathing – Your breath is the biggest natural asset that you have, using it to calm your mind in times of stress will allow you to think in a logical way.  Use 4>4>4 method, breathe in for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 4 and exhale for a count of 4.
  3. Smiling – Utilising another natural asset your smile, this will help to relax your muscles, notice more positive options and lower your blood pressure
  4. Stay in the present moment – Ground your energy through using this statement “I am Nicole; I am 42 years old, this is the present and not the past; I am safe here, today is Thursday”  Using this statement with your personal information will bring you back into the present moment where you are safe.
  5. Gratitude Practice – Each day write down one thing you are grateful for and put it in a box and then on days of stress reading these entries will help to lower your stress levels.  Another great thing to do as a family is read these entries on World Gratitude Day – 21st September.

Using these simple strategies in your daily life will help you and your children to start to self-regulate and live with stress in a way that doesn’t affect your health or inner peace.

Learn more about Nicole http://www.nicoleivens.com/about

 

Professional Counsellor

My Story

I thought I would share a little about my story and what started me on my journey to becoming a Professional Counsellor.

2014 was a pinnacle year for myself and my little family, beginning of the year saw me dealing with the near death of our youngest daughter and end of the year saw our eldest daughter being diagnosed with Epilepsy. As a strong woman I just pushed through carrying it all on my shoulders not reaching out for any help, I am strong right, I don’t need help, I can handle this on my own.

Professional Counsellor

 

It wasn’t until I had a relationship breakdown, loss of my business and our daughters counsellor telling me that it was ok to Grieve the loss I had been feeling. At the time I thought grieve, grieve about what, then I realised there is such a thing as Living Grief, I needed to grieve for the life I thought I would have and the life I thought my daughter would have before her diagnosis with Epilepsy.

With the help of my Counsellor I started on the journey of healing and finding myself again and getting to a place of acceptance of my new life and my daughters new life. I then realised this was my calling to help others to deal with the harsh realities life serves us sometimes.

So here I am today close to becoming a Registered and Professional Counsellor and looking forward to being that person that can support you and be “Your pathway to believing in yourself”.

Written by Nicole Ivens

Nicole Ivens is an experienced Professional Counsellor, Wellness Coach and EFT Practitioner.

Nicole helps women to reduce fear and anxiety and take back control of their life by kicking fear to the kerb and getting back in the driver’s seat of their life.

Learn more about Nicole www.nicoleivens.com/meetnicole

 

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