In last month's newsletter, we discussed the importance of teaching children how to identify their emotions and how to calm themselves. We are going to build on that knowledge and discuss how to help children who are avoiding something due to fear or worry such as taking a test, completing an assignment in a particular subject, or even going to sleep at night. These are all common experiences in childhood and it can be difficult for parents to see their child distressed while wondering how to best support their child. After all, parents want their kids to grow up with the confidence that they can face challenges and use coping strategies as they grow toward adulthood. When children display avoidance behaviors such as becoming noncompliant, defiant, clingy, or tearful, they are trying to cope with a situation that causes them to feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed. Avoidance behavior can present itself in many different forms depending on the child. It can look like procrastination, passive-aggressiveness, and rumination. Through explicit teaching, modeling, and practicing, adults can help children learn more effective strategies to deal with these stressors. The information presented does use the term "anxiety" and we want to clarify that we are discussing common worries that children experience about school, peer relationships, etc. We are not addressing anxiety as a medical diagnosis.