Best professional support for a 12yr old boy with anxiety?

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Best professional support for a 12yr old boy with anxiety?

I've realised my son (and me) needs some professional support to help bolster his confidence and reduce his anxieties.
He is afraid of being on his own, including he can not enjoy time on his own. Worries what friends & girls think of him. Still insists on sleeping with the light on and often sleepwalks and sleep talks.
Can often catastrophise events for example storms might become tsunamis and more often thinking of worst case scenarios.
I want to see a good therapist to just generally help validate his sensitivity, help articulate his needs and guide us BUT I'd like to stay away from doctor referrals etc so he doesn't have an anxiety label for life. Please any suggestions or tips.

Super frequent scribe

Re: Best professional support for a 12yr old boy with anxiety?

hi @mumofthree, well done you for realizing you guys need some support. You don't need to do this on your own. We are all here for you...

Definitely check out this site's info on anxiety - I'll link it below - but you could also look into online counseling with eHeadspace... Does that sound like something you'd be interested in?

https://parents.au.reachout.com/Common-concerns/Mental-health/Anxiety-and-teenagers
Mod

Re: Best professional support for a 12yr old boy with anxiety?

Hi @mumxthree

 

First of all, can I just say how great it is that you're here seeking some support for your son? It's pretty clear how much you care about him and his wellbeing, and that is so wonderful to see. 

 

I also know how terrifying it can be to take that first step towards help - mental health stigma is real and I think it's so natural to want to protect your son from that. But I do want you to know that we've come a long way even since RO was founded twenty years ago. Many people will seek help from a psychologist, through a GP referral, and never even be given an official 'diagnosis'.

 

Those who are given a diagnosis often have to explain it to each new doctor or psych they speak with - a fact that can be frustrating all on its own. In my personal, anecdotal experience, it's a lot more likely that he'll get really bored having to explain to each new doctor why he's on that medication (if he chooses to take meds!) or what kinds of therapy he's been to.

 

Finally: If you do get a diagnosis, you will still be the same amazing advocate for your son you are now. You can totally use that 'official' name to access the supports he needs, but still refuse to let anyone use it to pigeonhole him or what he can do.

 

I also want you to know: if you go see a psych and your son doesn't like them, take him to a new one. Try two, seven or fifty until he finds one he's comfortable with and has a rapport with. With the right psych, it's going to be all about finding the best strategies to help your son live his best life.

 

Still, take your time figuring out what support is best for you both. Headspace and eHeadspace are a great start. This stuff isn't easy, but you're already taking some amazing steps towards what you need.

 

Contributor

Re: Best professional support for a 12yr old boy with anxiety?

Other parents have shared some great resources. Here are some things I tried which helped:

  • Bought my son a cheap mobile phone. He knew if he was worried he could always call me (he rarely did, but the comfort came from knowing he could)
  • Enrolled him in a few 1-day community college course - acting improv, hip-hop dance - helped build his confidence
  • Gently challenged the catastrophising - I bookmarked the Bureau of Meteorology Tsunami Warning page (really). Also worked with him on "what's the worst that could happen if I did X?". We went through possibilities, agreed that some thimgs were possible but highly unlikely. Decided on looking at the remaining possibilities and working out strategies to deal with these "just in case" they occurred. He felt better knowing he was "prepared".
  • Got a cat. Cat slept on his bed and was super-sensitive to any "threats" so if the cat was calm, then there was nothing to worry about and he could sleep soundly.
Community Manager

Re: Best professional support for a 12yr old boy with anxiety?

Hey @mumxthree, just checking in to see how you're going. Did you find some professional support for your son?