For Kids and Teens
Articles games and book reviews for children and adolescents interested in understanding mental health issues.
Sometimes kids and teenagers get depressed, or anxious, but sometimes parents do too. It is confusing when your mother or father starts acting differently. They still love you, but how should you act? Can you help? Here are some books that may help.
Please Don’t Cry, Mom by DenBoer (1994)
This is an illustrated book, written for elementary school children. However, its description of recurrent major depression is so good that the book would be valuable for adolescents and some adults. It describes a boy’s feelings about his mother’s depression and her resistance to treatment. After her husband sets limits, she accepts treatment and begins to improve. The book describes the importance of family participation in treatment and the importance of taking one’s medication regularly. Ultimately, the boy gains knowledge and a sense of mastery.
2. Tell Me a Story, Paint Me the Sun by Chaplan (1991)
This is an illustrated book, appropriate for elementary school children and younger adolescents. It describes a girl whose father loses his job and becomes depressed (or starts drinking). Although he does not seek treatment or improve, she is able to talk to other adults and learn that she is worthwhile. This book is useful for the child who must learn to cope with ongoing parental denial of a mental illness or drug problem.
3. Daddy Doesn’t Have to be a Giant Anymore by J R Thomas (1996) Clarion Books
This illustrated book is told from the elementary school aged daughter’s point of view. It describes her reactions to her alcoholic father’s mood swings and erratic behavior. She is present when family and friends arrange a supportive confrontation to break down the father’s denial and get him into residential treatment. When he returns from the treatment, he is on the road to sobriety and is able to talk to his daughter about his past behavior.
4. Sad Days, Glad Days by DeWitt Hamilton (1995) Albert Whitman and Co.
This story tells about the feelings of Amanda, an elementary school-aged girl as she experiences her mother’s unpredictable episodes of recurrent depression. The mother also clearly experiences anguish when she sometimes cannot respond to her child’s needs. Her mother and father both help Amanda understand that her mother loves her and that the mother’s depressive episodes are not Amanda’s fault. Amanda conceptualizes her mother’s moods as colors. The illustrations sensitively follow this metaphor to catch the moods and experiences of the mother and the household. Amanda and her mother learn that despite recurrent depression, the mother can still find ways to give of herself to Amanda.
Carol E. Watkins, MD
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a fairly common thing. About one in fifteen kids has it, so there may be someone in your class with ADHD. Sometimes you will never know. A lot of people get much better with treatment. Then you can’t tell them from anyone else. However, some kids still have difficulty sitting still and paying attention.
What is ADHD?
Difficulty paying attention
Trouble keeping notebooks and assignments organized. Loses things a lot
Difficulty finishing things he or she has started.
Talks too much
Runs around or climbs things a lot more than other kids.
Some kids with ADHD are easy to spot. These are the ones that show everything on this list. They move around a lot. A few may have a hot-temper and get into fights easily. Other kids are just inattentive. They only have the first three things in the list. They just seem to daydream a lot. Their notebooks may be less organized and they may need reminders to get their projects finished.
Kids with ADHD might take medication, see a tutor, have extra classroom help, or see a therapist. What can you do to help?
If you have a work partner with ADHD, you might help them make a “to do” list.
Remind them about when assignments are due.
If you sit next to someone who is distractible, don’t make it worse. Don’t pass them notes or jokes during study time.
If the kid has a hot temper, try not to do things that will set it off.
Don’t call them “space cadet” “stupid” or other cruel names.
If they want to tell you about their medications or other treatments, listen. Otherwise, don’t bring it up unless you are a close friend.
ADHD is not all bad. If it were, the trait would have died out centuries ago. People with ADHD have a lot of energy and creativity. A kid with ADHD may be the tireless soccer player or the one with the weird but creative ideas. This sort of kid may grow up to be a professional ball player or a famous inventor. Be nice to him. One day, you may be proud to say that you knew the guy when he was a kid.
Carol E. Watkins, MD
Why do we get nervous? I certainly don’t like it when it happens to me, and I don’t think that other people enjoy it much either.
Humans developed this panic reaction for a good reason. It kept them alive.
Let’s say you lived a thousand years ago. While hunting with your family, you saw members of an enemy tribe heading your way. Your body would release panic hormones. Your heart would pound faster, you would breathe harder. Your muscles would get extra blood flow. That would make it easier for you to run away fast. The exercise of running would help keep you from staying upset and anxious once you had reached the safety of your village.
In modern America, we are less likely to be in that type of danger.
In our modern world, when you get that type of panic reaction, you usually can’t just get up and run. The panic feeling may stick around longer. In most people, that is all that happens. However, some people get regular panic attacks or fears. (phobias)
Phobias are fears of specific things such as spiders. ( arachnophobia) or of a situation such as being in high places (acrophobia) Sometimes a person might have a bad experience with a dog and go on to develop a fear of all dogs. Sometimes phobias gradually get better. Otherwise, a few sessions with a psychiatrist or psychologist may teach you how to get rid of the phobia.
If you are spending a lot of your time worrying or if you are having panic attacks, let someone know.
Even today, anxiety is not all bad. Small amounts of anxiety can motivate us to get things done, like studying for tests, or winning a soccer game.
Carol E. Watkins, MD
1. Fear of Spiders; 2. Fear of Cats; 3. Fear of Fire; 4. Fear of Computers; 5. Fear of Insects; 6. Fear of work; 7. Fear of animals; 8. Fear of darkness; 9. Fear of hospitals; 10. Fear of needles or pointed objects; 11. Fear of having dental work; 12. Fear of reptiles such as snakes; 13. Fear of birds; 14. Fear of bald people; 15. Fear of frogs; 16. Fear of burglars; 17. Fear of injections; 18. Fear of bees.
In Case that Wasn’t Enough...
The Ultimate Phobia List!
|Aging, growing old.||Gerascophobia|
|amphibians, such as frogs, newts, salamanders, etc.||Batrachophobia|
|anger or the fear of cholera.||Cholerophobia|
|angina, choking or narrowness.||Anginophobia|
|ataxia (muscular incoordination)||Ataxiophobia|
|Bed, going to.||Clinophobia|
|blindness in visual field.||Scotomaphobia|
|blood.||Hemophobia or Hemaphobia or Hematophobia|
|Blushing||Erythrophobia, Erytophobia or Ereuthophobia|
|body smells.||Bromidrosiphobia or Bromidrophobia|
|bogies or the bogeyman.||Bogyphobia|
|bound, being or tied up.||Merinthophobia|
|Bridges, crossing.||Gephyrophobia, Gephydrophobia, or Gephysrophobia|
|bums or beggars.||Hobophobia|
|buried alive, being or of cemeteries.||Taphephobia Taphophobia|
|cats.||Ailurophobia, Elurophobia, Felinophobia , Galeophobia or Gatophobia|
|cemeteries.||Taphephobia Taphophobia Coimetrophobia|
|challenges to official doctrine or of radical deviation.||Heresyphobia or Hereiophobia|
|chemicals or working with chemicals.||Chemophobia|
|childbirth.||Lockiophobia, Maieusiophobia or Parturiphobia|
|Chinese, Chinese culture.||Sinophobia|
|choking of being smothered.||Pnigophobia or Pnigerophobia|
|Cold (extreme), ice or frost.||Cryophobia|
|cold, cold things.||Frigophobia|
|cold.||Cheimaphobia or Cheimatophobia|
|colors.||Chromophobia or Chromatophobia|
|computers or working on a computer.||Cyberphobia|
|contaminated with dirt of germs, being.||Misophobia|
|crosses or the crucifix.||Staurophobia|
|crowds or mobs.||Agoraphobia , Ochlophobia, Demophobia or Enochlophobia|
|crystals or glass.||Crystallophobia|
|dark or of night.||Nyctophobia|
|darkness.||Achluophobia, Lygophobia, Myctophobia or Scotophobia|
|dawn or daylight.||Eosophobia|
|daylight or sunshine.||Phengophobia|
|death or dead things.||Necrophobia|
|death or dying.||Thanatophobia or Thantophobia|
|demons.||Demonophobia or Daemonophobia|
|dependence on others.||Soteriophobia|
|dining and dinner conversations.||Deipnophobia|
|dirt or contamination.||Molysmophobia or Molysomophobia|
|Disease, a particular one.||Monopathophobia|
|disorder or untidiness.||Ataxophobia|
|dizziness or whirlpools.||Dinophobia|
|doctor or of doctors, going to the||Iatrophobia|
|dogs or rabies.||Cynophobia|
|drafts, air swallowing, or airbourne noxious substances.||Aerophobia|
|Eight, the figure.||Octophobia|
|enclosed, being.||Clithrophobia or Cleithrophobia|
|England, English culture, etc.||Anglophobia|
|everything.||Panophobia or Pantophobia|
|eyes.||Ommetaphobia or Ommatophobia|
|failure or defeat.||Kakorrhaphiophobia, Atychiphobia|
|fainting or weakness.||Asthenophobia|
|falling in love or being in love.||Philophobia|
|fever.||Febriphobia, Fibriphobia or Fibriophobia|
|flowers.||Anthrophobia or Anthophobia|
|flying.||Aviophobia, Aviatophobia, Pteromerhanophobia|
|food or eating. (Cibophobia)||Sitophobia or Sitiophobia|
|food.||Cibophobia or Sitophobia or Sitiophobia|
|forgotton, being or ignored or forgetting.||Athazagoraphobia|
|France, French culture. (Francophobia)||Gallophobia, Galiophobia or Francophobia|
|Friday the 13th.||Paraskavedekatriaphobia|
|fur or skins of animals.||Doraphobia|
|gaining weight. (Obesophobia)||Pocrescophobia, Obesophobia|
|genitals, particularly female.||Kolpophobia|
|German or German things.||Teutophobia, Germanophobia|
|germs or contamination or dirt.||Mysophobia|
|germs.||Verminophobia, Spermatophobia or Spermophobia|
|glass.||Hyelophobia or Hyalophobia|
|God or gods.||Zeusophobia|
|gods or religion.||Theophobia|
|Greek terms or complex scientific terminology.||Hellenologophobia|
|hair. (Chaetophobia)||Trichopathophobia, Trichophobia, Chaetophobia or Hypertrichophobia|
|hearing a certain word or of names.||Onomatophobia|
|hearing good news.||Euphobia|
|heights or being close to high buildings.||Batophobia|
|hell.||Stygiophobia or Stigiophobia|
|home surroundings, house.||Oikophobia|
|home surroundings.||Eicophobia or Oikophobia|
|homosexuality or of becoming homosexual.||Homophobia|
|houses or being in a house.||Domatophobia or Oikophobia|
|ice or frost.||Pagophobia|
|Ill, becoming||Nosophobia or Nosemaphobia|
|immobility of a joint.||Ankylophobia|
|itching or of the insects that cause itching.||Acarophobia|
|jumping from high and low places.||Catapedaphobia|
|kissing.||Philemaphobia or Philematophobia|
|left side of the body, things to the.||Levophobia, Sinistrophobia|
|leprosy.||Leprophobia or Lepraphobia|
|liquids, dampness, or moisture.||Hygrophobia|
|locked in an enclosed place, being.||Cleithrophobia or Cleisiophobia|
|losing an erection.||Medomalacuphobia|
|love play. (Malaxophobia)||Sarmassophobia|
|love play. (Sarmassophobia)||Malaxophobia|
|materialism OR the fear of epilepsy.||Hylephobia|
|mice.||Musophobia or Murophobia|
|mirrors or of seeing oneself in a mirror.||Eisoptrophobia|
|missles or bullets.||Ballistophobia|
|mole rat, the great||Zemmiphobia|
|money.||Chrometophobia or Chrematophobia|
|monsters or deformed people. fear of bearing a deformed child||Teratophobia|
|movement or motion.||Kinetophobia or Kinesophobia|
|moving or making changes.||Tropophobia|
|mushrooms, fear or aversion to.||Mycophobia|
|Music, fear or hatred of||Melophobia.|
|myths or stories or false statements.||Mythophobia|
|narrow things or places.||Stenophobia|
|needles or pointed objects.||Aichmophobia|
|neglecting duty or responsibility.||Paralipophobia|
|new things or ideas.||Cenophobia or Centophobia|
|newness, novelty.||Cainophobia or Cainotophobia|
|noises or voices or one’s own voice; of telephones.||Phonophobia|
|Novelty, anything new||Kainophobia|
|objects at the right side of the body.||Dextrophobia|
|old people or of growing old.||Gerontophobia|
|oneself, being or of loneliness.||Eremophobia|
|open high places.||Aeroacrophobia|
|open spaces or of being in crowded, public places like markets. Fear of leaving a safe place.||Agoraphobia|
|opening one’s eyes.||Optophobia|
|Operating, surgeons fear of||Ergasiophobia- 1) Fear of work or functioning. 2) Surgeon’s fear of operating.|
|overworking or of pain.||Ponophobia|
|pain. (Algophobia)||Odynophobia or Odynephobia|
|painful bowels movements.||Defecaloesiophobia|
|peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.||Arachibutyrophobia|
|penis, esp erect.||Phallophobia|
|people or society.||Anthropophobia|
|Phobic or fearful situations, preference for||Counterphobia-|
|pins and needles. (Aichmophobia)||Belonephobia|
|places or situations, certain, such as stage fright.||Topophobia|
|Poetry, fear or hatred of||Metrophobia|
|poison or of being accidently poisoned.||Toxiphobia or Toxophobia or Toxicophobia|
|Politicians, fear or dislike of||Politicophobia.|
|pregnancy or childbirth.||Tocophobia|
|priests or sacred things.||Hierophobia|
|prostitutes or venereal disease.||Cypridophobia, Cypriphobia, Cyprianophobia, or Cyprinophobia|
|Punished severely or beaten by a rod, or of being severely criticized. Also fear of magic.(wand)||Rhabdophobia|
|rabies or of becoming mad.||Lyssophobia|
|rain or of being rained on.||Ombrophobia|
|rain or of being rained on.||Pluviophobia|
|rectum or rectal diseases.||Rectophobia|
|Red||Erythrophobia, Erytophobia or Ereuthophobia-|
|Red Lightss||Erythrophobia, Erytophobia or Ereuthophobia|
|reptiles or creepy, crawly things.||Herpetophobia|
|responsibility.||Hypengyophobia or Hypegiaphobia|
|riding in a car.||Amaxophobia|
|rivers or running water.||Potamophobia|
|ruin or ruins.||Atephobia|
|saints or holy things.||Hagiophobia|
|sameness, monotony or of homosexuality or of becoming homosexual.||Homophobia|
|School, going to||Didaskaleinophobia|
|scratches or being scratched.||Amychophobia|
|seeing, thinking about or having an erect penis.||Ithyphallophobia|
|sex , the opposite. (Heterophobia)||Sexophobia|
|Sex, the opposite. (Sexophobia)||Heterophobia|
|sexual love or sexual questions.||Erotophobia|
|Sin (having committed an unpardonable) or of criticism.||Enosiophobia or Enissophobia|
|sinning. (imaginary crime)||Peccatophobia|
|skin disease.||Dermatosiophobia or Dermatophobia or Dermatopathophobia|
|sleep or of being hypnotized.||Hypnophobia|
|smells or odors.||Osmophobia or Osphresiophobia|
|social situations, being evaluated negatively in||Social Phobia|
|society or people in general.||Sociophobia|
|solitude or being alone.||Monophobia|
|solitude, being alone.||Isolophobia|
|speaking in public or of trying to speak.||Glossophobia|
|speaking.||Laliophobia or Lalophobia|
|specters or ghosts.||Spectrophobia|
|spiders.||Arachnephobia or Arachnophobia|
|stairs, climbing or of falling downstairs.||Climacophobia|
|standing or walking. (Ambulophobia)||Stasibasiphobia or Stasiphobia|
|stared at or seen, being.||Scopophobia or Scoptophobia|
|stars and celestial space.||Astrophobia|
|strangers or foreigners.||Xenophobia|
|streets or crossing the street.||Agyrophobia|
|suffering and disease.||Panthophobia|
|swallowing or of eating or of being eaten.||Phagophobia|
|tapeworms.||Taeniophobia or Teniophobia|
|taste.||Geumaphobia or Geumophobia|
|teeth or dental surgery.||Odontophobia|
|termites, insects that eat wood.||Isopterophobia|
|Thirteen, the number.||Triskadekaphobia|
|thunder and lightning.||Astraphobia or Astrapophobia|
|thunder and lightning.||Brontophobia|
|thunder and lightning.||Keraunophobia|
|tickled by feathers.||Pteronophobia|
|tornadoes and hurricanes.||Lilapsophobia|
|Touched, being||Aphenphosmphobia, Chiraptophobia, Haphephobia or Haptephobia|
|trains, railroads or train travel.||Siderodromophobia|
|undressing in front of someone.||Dishabiliophobia|
|urine or urinating.||Urophobia|
|ventriloquist’s dummies, animatronic creatures, wax statues – anything that falsly represents a sentient being.||Automatonophobia|
|veritgo or feeling dizzy when looking down.||Illyngophobia|
|virgins or young girls.||Parthenophobia|
|voids or empty spaces.||Kenophobia|
|vomiting secondary to airsickness.||Aeronausiphobia|
|walking or falling; Inability to stand.||Basophobia or Basiphobia.|
|washing or bathing.||Ablutophobia|
|water or of rabies.||Hydrophobia|
|waves or wave like motions.||Cymophobia|
|wind.||Ancraophobia or Anemophobia|
|witches and witchcraft||Wiccaphobia.|
|Women, beautiful.||Caligynephobia, Venustraphobia|
|women.||Gynephobia or Gynophobia|
|wooded areas, dark; of forests at night||Nyctohylophobia|
|Working or functioning||Ergasiophobia- 1) Fear of work or functioning. 2) Surgeon’s fear of operating.|
|Worms, being infested with.||Helminthophobia|
|writing in public.||Scriptophobia|
|writing or handwriting.||Graphophobia|
|yellow or the word yellow.||Xanthophobia|
Who Is That Person In The Health Suite, And What Does She (or He) Really Do?
The school nurse is a pretty busy person. She usually does a number of different things as part of her job.
She is often the first medical person to see you if you get sick or hurt at school. Most people have met her when they got hit too hard by a baseball or had a cut or scrape. For this kind of thing, she may fix it up and send you back to class. If it is a fever or the flu, she takes care of you until your parents get there. Occasionally, someone has a bad accident or gets seriously ill at school. Then you really see her in action. She arranges for an ambulance or other emergency help and may start emergency medical care. Hopefully it will never happen, but it is nice to know that she can handle that sort of thing.
Some students need to take medicine at school. Unless you have special permission, don’t carry medicine around school in your pocket! People are very concerned about the issue of illegal drugs and you don’t want anyone getting the wrong idea! The nurse or an assistant should keep the medicine and give it to you at the right time. Some people really like that daily visit and the nurse gets to be a special friend. Other students are embarrased. They worry that people will find out about the medicines and will laugh at them. Let’s face it—some people can be rude or even cruel. If this worries you, talk to your doctor and to the school nurse. Between them, they may be able to figure a way to get around the problem.
Students with diabetes, asthma or other medical problems may get more intensive help from the nurse.
Occasionally, a student likes the health suite too much. Then the nurse may have to be firm and send him back to class.
A student may have a medical problem and be afraid to tell his or her parents. The nurse can often help you find a way to talk to your parents or your doctor.
Carol Watkins, MD
I Am Different But You May Not Know
I sit in the third row on the end. We just moved here, so I am new to this middle school. I visit the nurse a couple of times a day, but I go in the back of her office instead of standing in the pill line. Someone once saw me with a syringe and started a rumor that I was a drug addict. When we go out to a fast food restaurant and all of you are loading up on Mega-Burgers, fries and milkshakes, I just get a plain burger and a diet Coke. People give me looks. Maybe it would be better if I just told you that I have diabetes. It’s really not such a bad thing. I just don’t want to seem different. I see some of you whispering about other kids because they have a different accent or they always get the A on tests. I know that keeping my diabetes a secret could be dangerous, but around here being different is social death. What should I do?
Carol Watkins, MD
Bullies are not really brave. Deep inside, they are cowards. However, you do have to be brave to stand up to a bully.
There are many types of bullies and you will meet them in different places all your life. So, its a good idea to start learning how to deal with them now.
The best way to avoid being bullied is to learn to avoid being a target. Try not to give the bully an easy victim. Be the type of person that a bully would like to avoid. Look the bully in the eye and use a strong voice. That bully may decide that you are not someone he or she wants to pick on. Work on building good self esteem. If you feel confident inside yourself, you won’t look like a victim and it will be easier to stand up for your rights. Develop ties with friends and family. That way, you will not be as isolated. Finally, you should stick up for other kids who are being bullied. That way, people will see that you are not the type of person who puts up with bullies. Besides, the person you help, may do the same for you in the future.
It would be nice if this would eliminate bullying. Unfortunately, even if you do your best to avoid being a target, someone will still try to bully you. What do you do then?
Remember that you always have some choices. Usually, you should stand up to the bully and not give in. There are a few exceptions that we will mention at the end of this article. If people are using unkind words to tease you, try act as if it does not bother you. Go over a mental list of your good qualities. If ignoring is not enough, try to use humor to calm things down. Change the subject to something else that might interest everybody. If you think that a bully might be planning to bother you again, hang around with your friends, so you are not an isolated target. If you sense that you are in physical danger, get away as fast as possible. Yell for people to help you.
Bullies sometimes try to threaten you into keeping things a secret. This is not a good idea. Tell a trusted adult. This person may be able to help you out of the situation.
If you really feel that you are in physical danger, give the bully what he or she wants. Your safety is more important than money or a nice jacket. However, try not to get in a car or go to an isolated place with this person.
With self confidence and some common sense, you should be able to avoid most problems with bullies.
Carol E. Watkins, MD
Everybody gets sad sometimes. You feel like your parents or your friends hate you and you want to stay up in your room and get away from them all. That can happen to anyone. However, the feelings usually pass in a few hours or a few days. Pretty soon, you are back to your usual self.
Occasionally, some kids get bad feelings that do not go away. The sad or angry feelings go on for weeks or months. He or she may lose interest in friends and school. It can affect appetite. Even the one’s very favorite food seems unappealing.
Kid Power: A guide to dealing with depression was written by an eleven year old boy who had depression himself. He divides depressed kids into two main types. “Turtles” become withdrawn and slow down. “Dragons” show their depression with increased irritability and anger.
If your depressed feelings have gone on for more than two weeks, if the depression is interfering with your life or if you start to wish you weren‘t around, tell an adult. Depression can be treated. You would be surprised how much better you will feel.
Carol E. Watkins, MD
Lots More Books for Kids and Adolescents about Mental Health Issues: Divorce, Depression, School Problems and More!
Northern County Psychiatric Associates
Our practice has experience in the treatment of Depression, Attention Deficit Disorder(ADD or ADHD), Separation Anxiety Disorder, and other psychiatric conditions. We are located in Northern Baltimore County and serve the Baltimore County, Carroll County and Harford County areas in Maryland. Since we are near the Pennsylvania border, we also serve the York County area. Our services include psychotherapy, psychiatric evaluations, medication management, and family therapy. We treat children, adults, and the elderly. Visit our web site http://www.ncpamd.com or https://www.baltimorepsych.com
We also maintain a list of informative web sites on mental health topics, such as Attention Deficit Disorder, Parenting and Support Groups. We have links of interest to the general public and links of interest to primary care physicians and other professionals.
Northern County Psychiatric Associates
Offices in Monkton and Lutherville, Maryland
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