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Dear Reader: Anxious Minds in Stressful Times

Alayne Sulkin

Published on: September 27, 2018

Anxious girl

What exactly is anxiety? 

I thought of this question as I discussed this newest issue with my husband. He asked if this month’s feature story on anxiety had any resemblance to ParentMap’s very first feature in April 2003.

A little bit, but not exactly.

Here’s a less than uplifting walk down memory lane: In 2003, ParentMap launched our first feature, “High Anxiety: Talking to Kids in Threatening Times.” 

That issue went to press on March 20, 2003, the day the Iraq War began. In it, we discussed how to talk about some of the time’s highest anxiety moments: the war, September 11, the 1999 school shooting at Columbine.

Flash-forward 15 years. We’re still talking (or at least, trying to talk) to our kids about high stress, high anxiety times. We’re also grappling with the introduction of social media (in 2003, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat didn’t exist; these days, Facebook boasts more than 2 billion users and Snapchat’s 158 million daily users open the app an average of 18 times a day.)

But while the means of communication may have changed, the goal remains the same: giving our kids what they need to thrive. That’s why I choose to look at this year’s Every Child issue as inspiring. It’s overflowing with insights on how to do just that, even if the topics, like anxiety, are hard to talk about.

Thankfully, our community is fortunate to have exceptional educators who make the conversation easier. Take Ariane Gauvreau, who is transforming special education at the University of Washington and beyond. 

Or Dr. Kendra Read, who’s featured in this month’s feature. As she so wisely notes, “Anxious youth are pretty quiet, compliant, extraordinarily conscientious and not causing a problem in the classroom, so they can be missed by those outside of the home.” Those words ring true to me and I hope offer insight for your family as well.

This fall, whatever struggles your family may be facing, I offer you this: Your village is here for you. From anxiety to autism to ADHD, we have the tools to face whatever’s ahead. Come see what I mean at ParentMap’s upcoming Every Child Summit at the University of Washington

Hosted on Oct. 17, this annual event will feature a free fair of local resources for atypical learners and three short presentations from specialists on autism advocacy, pediatric anxiety and ADHD.

I hope to see you there.

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