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Determining whether an anxiety skills program is right for your child

All children experience anxiety some of the time. Anxiety is a natural response we all have to a perceived danger that our brains and bodies tell us might be best to avoid. Many of our children’s everyday activities result in them having to perform or live up to some of the pressure they feel from parents, teachers, or even themselves. This can sometimes be perceived as a “danger.”

There is a certain level of anxiety that is developmentally appropriate, and maybe even beneficial, for children to experience. Avoidance of danger is present even in infancy and anxiety falls on a continuum from mild to severe. When worry or anxiety keeps your child from doing things they want to do or when anxiety is beginning to interfere with their academic or social functioning, your child may benefit from learning positive coping skills for how to successfully cope with this anxiety.

This summer, I am offering two brand new anxiety skills programs for children ages 5-7 and 8-11. If you determine your child level of anxiety is more severe than what is developmentally appropriate, your child has the opportunity o join a group of their peers in learning cognitive-behavioral techniques for coping with worry through this summer's new programs: Fearless Fighters (ages 8-11) or Monster Mashers (ages 5-7). Please visit the Summer Skills tab for more information.

Developmentally appropriate worry and anxiety:

  • Worries come and go

  • Worries are occasional

  • Your child does not seem more worried than his/her peers

  • Your child’s anxiety does not interfere with their performance at school

  • Your child’s anxiety does not interfere with their relationships with friends or family members

  • Your child’s worry does not get in the way of fun (e.g., does not cause avoidance of new experiences such as birthday parties, restaurants, camps, etc.)

Your child may benefit from Fearless Fighters or Monster Mashers if:

  • Your child’s worry is on going

  • Your child’s anxiety causes them to avoid experiences that other children think are fun (e.g., sleepovers, rides, birthday parties, camp, play dates, new experiences)

  • Your child’s worry interferes with their ability to meet new people, make new friends, and/or keep friendships going

  • Your child consistently experiences difficulty separating from you

  • You sometimes characterized your child as “inflexible” or “rigid” and find that you have to do things a certain way so as not to upset your child (i.e., you find yourself doing a lot of accommodating)

  • Your child’s worry causes them distress

  • Your child experiences intense and seemingly out of proportion anxiety in regard to the situation at hand

Anxiety and worry are normal parts of life; however, when a child is no longer able to handle their worries at home or at school, it may be beneficial for them to receive guidance on how to positively cope. Children benefit from seeing their peers learn and rise above their struggle and are positively influenced by learning these skills in a group setting. The goal is for children to live life they want to, despite feeling worried once in a while, and to feel encouraged and supported by their peers and families. During Fearless Fighters and Monster Mashers, we will work on your child’s ability to be BRAVE in situations that may have previously resulted in avoidance enabling them to start building blocks for their long-term success and happiness.

For more information on Fearless Fighter or Monster Mashers, contact Dr. Ruths at or call 832-444-4749.

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