Jennifer Pearce

Hi there! My name is Jennifer and I am one of the newest members to MomTalk and JustKiddin'. I am a 40-year-old mother who works outside the home. I live with my husband of eleven years and our two young daughters. After being a stay-at-home-mother for six years, I re-entered the workforce when my husband was briefly unemployed. When he returned to work, I chose to keep working due to economics and the age of my daughters at the time. I now work as the advertising manager of a community newspaper and appreciate how working has gotten me much more involved in my community. However, I often miss the opportunity to spend more time with my daughters, or to volunteer more time with their school and activities. My older daughter is a 10-year-old fourth grader, and my younger daughter is a 6-year-old kindergartener. Their many activities and my husband’s complicated work schedule make scheduling our number one family challenge. He works a rotating shift in a retail store that includes many nights and weekends. We struggle to preserve our time together as a family and make the most of it, while still finding time to accomplish our individual goals and pursue our favorite interests. My interests include reading, writing and photography. I love taking family photos and completed a Project 365 in 2010, taking a photo a day for the year. It was a wonderful experience to document our life for a year and appreciate all the little pieces of it. I am currently working to put the 365 pictures into a scrapbook…if I can just find the time. I look forward to sharing our journey with you here on JustKiddin'!


Addressing tween anxiety

According to Anxiety Association of America, “anxiety disorders affect one in eight children. Research has shown that if left untreated, children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse.  Anxiety disorders also often co-occur with other disorders such as depression, eating disorders, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).”  Anxiety runs in our genetics and my tween has had the unfortunate plague of anxiety run in her veins.  We have worked with cognitive behavioral therapists and use low dose medication to relieve the bigger symptoms.  Whether she can overcome it or will have it for her life, we are trying to provide the skills so that she is confident and can manage it.

My husband and I have chosen to address health straight on.  We explain to our children what is going on and why they take certain medicines or go to therapy.  We explain it doesn’t have to be known to all what they suffer from, but we try to give concrete examples of things they might do that show how they need help.  I am also honest that I too deal with the same issues and they are not alone.  I read a lot!  I feel as a mother I can eliminate or at least reduce anxiety by knowing, understanding and working within our elements.  I try not to cater to the anxiety, but rather prepare my tween and then ultimately let her decide if she wants to try to do something.   We are so grateful for the help we have received since her sleeping problems have resolved, she gets less sick, she’s on honor roll and her self esteem has increased.

We try to teach our children empathy towards others.  Also, that the dreaded buzz word in society, “therapy” is not a bad word.  It can be beneficial in learning skills that perhaps I’m not able to offer her.  We also teach that there isn’t anything “wrong” with her, our brains just don’t produce enough of the chemicals we need to be like everyone else.  My philosophy is you can never have too much help as a parent.  However, seeking help and services through the proper channels is the best policy.  Most insurances cover the evaluation if you are concerned that something is not “right.”  If you are concerned, talk with your doctor.

The ADAA offers these helps for parents:

  • Pay attention to your child’s feelings.
  • Stay calm when your child becomes anxious about a situation or event.
  • Recognize and praise small accomplishments.
  • Don’t punish mistakes or lack of progress.
  • Be flexible and try to maintain a normal routine.
  • Modify expectations during stressful periods.
  • Plan for transitions (For example, allow extra time in the morning if getting to school is difficult).

Does your tween suffer from anxiety?  If so, how do you address it as parents to make it a positive, rather than a negative?

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One Comment on “Addressing tween anxiety”

  • Sarah August 14th, 2010 11:05 am

    There is a lot to learn about anxiety and I appreciate you bringing it up- My son exhibits very little anxiety including “stranger anxiety” which causes ME a great deal of concern and stress. He has special needs and I am worried if he does not learn sooner then later about the “rights and wrongs” of social behavior…..we might have some issues. It takes me being extra diligent and watchful- to make sure he is safe. At the same time I want to foster his self-confidence and independence and it’s a tricky balance. Needless to say I don’t always connect the dots fast enough and am missing it- that yes!! although my child is not quite a tween- he does sometimes feel anxious. It just occurred to me… the other day at the pool, a friend of mine did not exactly catch him when he went down a slide and Oliver went very fast and hard underneath the water to ground of the pool before she was able to get him. It must have caused anxiety and scared him- he did not want to get back into the water and wanted to cuddle for the rest of our time at the pool. Funny…..we sometimes only see things in retrospect. Thanks for the great tips and addressing this topic- it was very helpful.

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