In infancy, it is important to notice if your child has difficulty with inflexibility, separation anxiety, frequent or intense crying, irregular moods or difficulty with sleep issues.
Toddlers can learn patience and how to establish mood stabilization through appropriate responses to the tantrums of the terrible two's. Parents often benefit from help with limit-setting.
Preschoolers must learn the language of emotion. Many children's books teach about being happy, sad or frustrated as well as the pro-social skills of sharing, taking turns and helping others. Inattentive, aggressive or anxious preschoolers benefit from behavior management to remodel these tendencies. This can often prevent them from being diagnosed with emotional issues by school age.
The school years place your child in a complex world where they can often feel overwhelmed by the many things they must master both academically and socially. We all find that some things come easier than others. The frustration of needing more effort to learn, the insecurity of fitting in, the need to sit still and focus all day poses great challenges to many children. School age children need to learn coping skills and self-regulation to manage their anxiety and moods. Those who do not achieve these skills risk falling into self-medication with substance abuse in adolescence.
In adolescence, the hormones of puberty cause moods to swing dramatically. Social relationships become both more competitive and closer. It is critical to find your child's strengths and encourage them. Poor self-esteem, depression and anxiety are often followed by teen pregnancy, substance abuse or other risk-taking behaviors. Dr. Smith always screens for these risk factors.
Statistics show that one family in five is touched by mental illness. When a family first experiences the devastating effects of mental illness, many suffer silently-not understanding the illness or how it affects their loved one and not knowing where to turn for help.
Dr. Smith is a member of the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) and has taught their 12 week course to the parents of children with major mental illness.
If supportive family and therapists are not enough to assist your child challenged by anxiety, depression, ADHD or eating disorders, Dr. Smith is experienced in prescribing medication which will complement psychotherapeutic management.